Longtime Eastpointe business suffers heavy damage in fire

Police investigating ‘suspicious’ fire

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 13, 2016

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EASTPOINTE — Empire Tile and Marble, a longtime Eastpointe business in the 17000 block of Stephens Road, suffered heavy damage in an early morning fire May 6, and investigators last week did not believe it was accidental.

According to Public Safety Director John McNeilance, firefighters received the call at 3:48 a.m. and found upon arrival that the office area and workshop area were engulfed in flames. St. Clair Shores, Roseville, Warren and Detroit Arsenal responded through mutual aid to help get the blaze under control, McNeilance said.

“There ended up being heavy damage to the building,” McNeilance said. “It was a couple hours before it was under control, and there were hot spots there into the daylight hours.”

No injuries were reported. McNeilance said he had not yet heard from the engineers on whether or not the building was structurally sound. The roof was still on the building after the fire, he added.

Eastpointe police detectives are investigating the possibility that the fire was caused after a burglary, he said.

“We believe it was burglarized and that the fire was set in conjunction with the burglary. It appears suspicious,” McNeilance said. “We’re looking for leads and processing some evidence and things like that.”

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office reported sending a K-9 unit to Eastpointe at about 10:20 a.m. May 10 to help with the investigation, which was ongoing as of May 12.

McNeilance said Empire Tile and Marble has been in the city since 1970. Owner Roy Bianchini could not be reached for comment by press time.

Anyone with information can call the Police Department at (586) 445-5100.