Flames are seen coming out of the Roseville Theatre March 24.

Flames are seen coming out of the Roseville Theatre March 24.

Photo provided by Mark Blaszkowski

Pastor tells story of fire at Roseville Theatre building in social media post

By: Brian Wells | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 2, 2023

 A screen grab shows Pastor Ross Collette speaking in a video that he posted to social media March 26.

A screen grab shows Pastor Ross Collette speaking in a video that he posted to social media March 26.


ROSEVILLE — When Ross Collette looked out of his residence in the Roseville Theatre March 24, he saw and smelled smoke coming from his office in another part of the building.

He ran down the hallway and saw fire in his office, between his desk and computer. He threw water on it until he thought he had it extinguished. The room was still full of smoke, so he put fans in the office to try to clear it out.

“When I walked back in my office again, I did everything wrong, I guess, because it seemed to explode in new flames in a different place,” Collette said in a video he posted to Facebook March 26.

While he and another person worked to extinguish the fire, his wife called the Roseville Fire Department.

Roseville Fire Marshal William Ciner said his department received the call at approximately 4:28 p.m. March 24. The department was assisted by the St. Clair Shores, Eastpointe and Warren fire departments and the Fraser Department of Public Safety.

Collette was one of three people who were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. In his video, he stated that they were released after about 10 hours.

“Here’s several miracles from this. One is that we’re alive,” he said. “You can’t see my eyes real good, but they’re still red. I still have black soot; when I blow my nose, it comes out. But I’m able to breathe, thank God, even after burn damage all the way down my throat from hot air. Believe me, it’s a horrible thing.”

Collette was told the fire was contained to his office; however, smoke filled the rest of the building. The ice cream room beneath his office was damaged by water.

“The fire marshal said, ‘This is really amazing because the glass door that leads into your residence, there’s no damage beyond that door. The door shut it off,’” Collette said.

“Everything smells like it’s been through the fire,” he added.

The building is home to Deeper Life Ministries, which Collette leads, in addition to a barber shop and two other businesses. The building had been listed on churchrealestatesales.com with an asking price of $1.35 million.

Collette said he lost 60 years’ worth of ministry items, including texts, sermons, songs and a Bible he got when he was 13.

“The Bible I had when I was 13 years old, when I first preached, was right there with all of my notes written in the pages,” he said, getting emotional in the video. “But it’s gone forever now.”

In an email March 29, Ciner said the fire remains under investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is required to investigate for arson before occupancy can be permitted as part of the Church Arson Prevention Act, which Congress passed in 1996.

Representatives from the ATF’s Detroit Field Division did not return a request for comment.

Collette ended the video by asking for prayers and donations.

Collette also thanked the community for the love and support he’d already received, such as clothing, food and hygiene items, and a new Bible, which he used in the video to read an abbreviated version of the sermon that he’d planned for the day.