Attic of Manresa house catches fire

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 31, 2019

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For the second time in just a few months, a fire broke out at the historical Manresa Jesuit Retreat House early July 31, according to police.

According to Sgt. Steve Splan, of the Bloomfield Hills Public Safety Department, an alarm at the retreat’s main house, 1390 Quarton Road, was activated at 5:44 a.m. July 31. Upon arrival, first responders said they could smell smoke, and they circled the unoccupied building to find the source.

“We repositioned to the north side of the building and we could see smoke coming from what appeared to be the attic area,” Splan said. 

The attic of the facility had been undergoing renovations and reportedly hadn’t been used in some time. With the help of firefighters from Bloomfield Township and Troy, the flames were extinguished from the attic — a space Splan said is notoriously tough for firefighters — and the damage was contained to an about 20-by-20-foot space.

“The sprinkler system did a fantastic job. It did exactly what it was supposed to do and hold the fire back until our crews were able to fully extinguish it,” he said. “It was lucky for the sprinklers — actually, probably not lucky: good preparation.”

Splan said that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but as of now there is “zero suspicion of foul play.” There were no injuries.

The Eagle could not reach anyone at Manresa for comment before press time. The phone lines were disconnected, likely due to the department cutting off power to one of the buildings as a precaution, Splan said. 

Just a little over three months ago, public safety personnel responded to another fire at the facility, on April 10, when a fire broke out in a large historical barn on the property. While the barn, one of three,  was burned down completely, there were no injuries, and at that time, Steve Raymond, the associate director of Manresa, said the incident wouldn’t affect daily activities. 

The cause of that fire has yet to be released by investigators. 

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