No one injured in vacant house fire

Area has had multiple blazes in past two years

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published November 30, 2016

 Royal Oak firefighters arrive on Whitcomb Avenue after 7 a.m. Nov. 30 to put out a fire at a vacant house.

Royal Oak firefighters arrive on Whitcomb Avenue after 7 a.m. Nov. 30 to put out a fire at a vacant house.

Photo by Dennis Walus


Fire officials are investigating what caused a home to erupt into flames Wednesday morning on a quiet residential street.

No one was injured at the scene and no one lived in the house at 705 Whitcomb Ave.

“It’s been unoccupied, we know, for at least three or four weeks, but maybe longer,” said interim Fire Chief James Cook. “So there was no one there and we don’t know the cause, and neighbors hadn’t seen any activity in the last day or so, so it’s under investigation.”

Cook said he was attempting to contact the owner.

Adam Brook lives on the other side of the street and said sirens woke him up after 7 a.m.

“You know when a siren comes down the street and it stops in front of your house,” he said.

Brook ran outside and saw that the bungalow-style house across the street had flames shooting out of the roof.

Brook said he knew no one lived in the home, but he was concerned for an older neighbor living next door. That neighbor’s house did have some damage, as melting siding was visible from across the street.

Neighbors said there was a group of college-age men living in the home during the summer, but it had been vacant for some time and was currently for sale.

Neighbors said that they were no strangers to fire on their street.

Shortly before 6 a.m. Feb. 27, 2015, a fire erupted in a strip mall on the east side of Rochester Road between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads, at the corner of Whitcomb Avenue.

No one was injured.

Fire officials said that fire started inside InStyle Kitchen & Bath, 4300 Rochester Road, and spread north to a new pet service store and another unoccupied building at the end.

That strip mall is still boarded up and a few neighbors said they do not want another boarded up building on their street.

The neighborhood also was targeted one year ago during a string of car fires set at the end of November through mid-December.

Two fires were reported just before 5 a.m. Dec. 12, 2015, in the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Bauman Avenue, north of 13 Mile Road between Rochester and Campbell roads. No one was injured in the blazes.

According to first responders, the first vehicle was parked in the driveway, and the fire spread to a nearby detached garage, which sustained light to moderate damage.

The second vehicle was parked on the street about 200 feet away.

A month before the December 2015 incidents, three suspicious car fires happened within a four block radius between 3:08 a.m. Nov. 23 and 2:38 a.m. Nov. 26.

The Nov. 23, 2015, car fires happened in the 900 block of Whitcomb Avenue and the 1100 block of Bauman Avenue. Both vehicles were parked in the street, and the fires were started within 25 minutes of one another. The fires were extinguished quickly and no one was injured.

The Nov. 26 fire happened in the 600 block of Millard Avenue. According to police, the vehicle was parked in a driveway and was fully engulfed in flames when first responders arrived.