Public safety officers from the Grosse Pointes battle a fire the afternoon of May 16 at a home on Yorkshire Road in Grosse Pointe Park.

Public safety officers from the Grosse Pointes battle a fire the afternoon of May 16 at a home on Yorkshire Road in Grosse Pointe Park.

Photo by Sean Work


Fire claims Yorkshire Road home in Grosse Pointe Park

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 17, 2019

 After fire tore through a home on Yorkshire Road in Grosse Pointe Park, public safety officials fear the combination of fire and water damage have rendered the dwelling unsalvageable.

After fire tore through a home on Yorkshire Road in Grosse Pointe Park, public safety officials fear the combination of fire and water damage have rendered the dwelling unsalvageable.

Photo provided by William Hulsker

GROSSE POINTE PARK — A three-story home that neighbors and workers said has stood tall on Yorkshire Road for more than 100 years will now likely have to come down after fire tore through the third floor the afternoon of May 16.

Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni said that because of water damage from battling a blaze that started on the top level, the home was “probably a total loss.” He said they got a call about the fire around 12:45 p.m. May 16. Five hours later, officers were still using the ladder truck to douse hot spots.

At press time, Poloni said the cause of the fire hadn’t been formally determined, but from the preliminary investigation, investigators believe it might have stemmed from workers doing renovations in the attic, possibly plumbing or roofing work involving a torch.

Because of the mutual aid system in the Grosse Pointes, Poloni was able to immediately marshal support from Grosse Pointe City and Farms. The call originally went out as a three-alarm fire, but Poloni said Grosse Pointe Woods later responded as well, bringing additional water from a hydrant on Bishop Road. He said Grosse Pointe Shores also responded to provide additional manpower.

Although Poloni said one or two officers sustained minor injuries, “Everybody got out (of the house) OK.”

The house was undergoing renovations at the time, possibly for a future sale.

Public safety officers were able to contain the fire and keep it from spreading to any nearby homes. Poloni said he was proud of the work that officers did on the scene.

“These guys all work hard every time they go to a fire,” he said. “The mutual aid system works great. … We have plenty of help. We’re never happy when we can’t stop (a fire) quicker, but we work as a team.”

Two of the workers who had been in the house, Calvin Calloway and Clinton Frazier, could only look on in horror as fire tore through the structure.

Calloway said they had been working on the home for about the last two weeks, painting, sealing cracks in walls and repairing drywall. He was on the third floor when another worker smelled smoke and alerted him of this. Calloway helped a woman who had been looking after the home to get out as workers fled outside to safety.

“I hate for these people to see their house go up (in flames),” Calloway said of the owners, who weren’t on the scene at the time of the fire.

Frazier said the fire seemed to have started after another worker turned on a light in a third floor closet, although the smell of smoke wasn’t immediate. He said they had been working at the home for two weeks with no issues and had turned on lights in various rooms, but it wasn’t until after the closet light was activated that smoke materialized on the third floor. Frazier said the fire seemed to grow quickly.

“There was so much smoke, you couldn’t see nothing,” he said.

Workers suspect there might have been an electrical issue inside the house. Frazier said if they had known this, they would have shut off the power. 

“We’ve been here for two weeks, working eight to 10 hours (a day), and nothing happened,” Calloway said.

Neighbors watched with sorrow as smoke billowed from the roof. Several brought food or water to public safety personnel battling the blaze.

Neighbor Cynthia Fox, who brought water to first responders, said she knew the couple who used to live in the home.

“We’re glad nobody was hurt,” Fox said.

One neighbor said the couple who owns the house has probably lived there about 50 years.

A woman who lives in the neighborhood brought trays of sandwiches for public safety personnel.

“Our police and fire do so much for us — it’s the least we can do for them,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified.