Arson under investigation in Hazel Park

Pile of debris found on fire in backyard of home

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published December 24, 2013

HAZEL PARK — Authorities continue to look for tips regarding an arson that occurred in Hazel Park earlier this month. 

The arson occurred at a home in the 1400 block of East Elza, near Nine Mile and Dequindre, around 6:30 a.m. Dec. 6.

The house was unoccupied at the time. Since the home had been purchased and was in the process of being repaired, with plans to rent the place out, insurance fraud doesn’t appear to have been the motive, according to Hazel Park Fire Chief Mike Karschnia.

A neighbor called 911, regarding what she thought were sparking electrical wires. What she was really seeing was the heat from the fire. There were no wires involved.

At the source of the fire was a pile of debris, including a mattress, newspapers and other flammables.

“There was no reason for there to be a fire there,” Karschnia said.

The fire spread to a couple spots on the back of the house, torching the asbestos siding common in houses made before aluminum and vinyl became popular. While the damage is repairable, the cost is estimated to be in excess of $10,000.

“It burned up the side of the house, about as high as the doorwall, and a couple feet wide,” Karschnia said. “So it wasn’t a huge fire, but it did do damage to the building.”

Arson investigators from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department have been working with the Hazel Park Fire Department on the case. Any witnesses to the crime are asked to come forward.

In the meantime, Karschnia asks residents to remain vigilant. He said the neighbor’s efforts here made all the difference in getting the fire under control.

“Arson fires aren’t common in Hazel Park, but they do happen sometimes,” Karschnia said. “So keep an eye out on things happening in your neighborhood, and if you see anything suspicious, call for help.”

The Hazel Park Fire Department can be reached at (248) 542-6000. The Hazel Park Police Department can be reached at (248) 542-6161.