Roof fire at unoccupied building in Clinton Township causes smoke seen miles away

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 15, 2018

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — All the Clinton Township Fire Department had to do was follow the smoke.

On Oct. 9, the department was called to a fire in the area between Hayes and Garfield roads, at an old DTE building no longer in use on 19 Mile Road.

Township Fire Chief Tim Duncan said firefighters from his department were notified of a blaze at 1:21 p.m., and they arrived just six minutes later. Simultaneously, people on social media were seeing black smoke from all directions.

“Once we got turned onto 19 Mile, we could see (the smoke),” Duncan said. “Leaving the station, with the tall trees, we couldn’t see it.”

The fire started on the roof. Firefighters on the scene utilized all apparatuses, with one truck efficiently soaking the building. Then, access to ladders became the next step.

“There was a significant amount of black smoke, and fire coming from the east side of the roof area,” Duncan said. “It was black smoke due mostly to the roofing materials. … We found out pretty fast it was mainly contained to the upper roof area, but did get a little infiltration into the building.”

At press time, officials were still awaiting the inspector’s report, but Duncan believed the fire had something to do with the roofing process. Roofers and contractors were working to reconstruct and prepare the building for future owners and occupants.

He added that the Sterling Heights Fire Department was notified, but its personnel were handling a medical call at the same time of the blaze.

“Due to the fact we were able to keep it maintained to the material of the roof, I don’t think any structural damage occurred,” he said.

With high temperatures that day already, one firefighter suffered from heat exhaustion and was taken to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. He was released that same evening and went to work the next day.