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  #1  
Old 06-22-2005, 02:08 AM
PM_Mama00 PM_Mama00 is offline
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Site of first autombiles almost demolished by fire...

This is quite a historic place in Detroit. A really interesting and sad story.

Fire in New Center Area Destroys Piquette Market
By Michael Rosenfield
Web produced by Christine Lasek and Mickey McCanham
June 21, 2005

150 firefighters have battled flames all morning in the New Center area, since a fire broke out at 10 p.m. Monday night. The fire originated in the 285 Piquette warehouse building, located on the northwest corner of Piquette Ave. and Brush St.

The fire quickly engulfed the warehouse. The roads surrounding the scene, including John R, Piquette, and Brush, are all closed due to firefighting efforts.

Firefighters told 7 Action News that it could be several days before the cause of the fire is determined.

7 Action News reporter Michael Rosenfield was at the scene early Tuesday morning, around 2 a.m. He described the flames as intense and shooting high into the air.

By 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, only a few walls of the Piquette Market remained standing. The majority of the walls had come tumbling down in the early morning hours, causing the ground to shake like an earthquake.

The Piquette Marketís origins are steeped in history. 285 Piquette was originally built by the Studebaker folks, who started automobile production there in 1910. They eventually closed down in 1928.

The building was then taken over in the 1930's by the Michigan National Guard and became known as the Piquette Armory, which housed the local detachment of light infantry.

Many World War II soldiers mustered out of the armory during the war, and the site was the hub of Defense Department Border Security Operations for Detroit and southeast Michigan.

The National Guard left the facility after the end of World War II and moved to a newer facility on east 8 Mile Rd. in Detroit.

The building was vacant for a number of years before being taken over and rehabilitated for local businesses. The most notable of these is the Piquette Market, which is the main market for the area's residents. The marketplace sold everything from furniture to food.

Across from the marketplace is the Abundant Faith Cathedral. The pastor of Abundant Faith spoke with 7 Action News, and explained that the grocery store in the Piquette Market often stepped in to help the church, and would donate food to the lower income parishioners.

The building at 285 Piquette was a wood beam and floor system, with a brick exterior. Auto plants of this era which have caught on fire have been a big job to put out, since the wood floors had years of exposure to flammable oils and solvents used in the auto making ventures.

At one point, the fire extended east across Brush Street, setting the historic Ford Piquette Avenue plant building on fire. Henry Ford established his first big automotive plant on this site in 1904. It is now a museum, which has some Model Ts on display.

This fire in the Ford building was quickly extinguished, because it was notable in its day for a type of construction which took fire safety into mind. There were cross laminated wood floors, numerous fire walls, and a fire suppression system.

While firefighters tried to contain the fire, there was fear that the fire would spread to the 411 Piquette building, which is a medical records building located next door to 285. According to the owner of 411 Piquette, the building stores upwards of 10 million medical records, dating back to the time of the Ford Medical Center.

Old files are kept in the building for research purposes, as well as many current medical files, which are pulled daily for patients.

Some artists that rent studio space in the top of the 411 Piquette building lost their lifeís work. Although the spaces did not catch fire, the fire was so intense that the windows of the artistsí studios facing 285 burst from the heat and flames.

No one was killed in the massive fire, but some of the firefighters were injured and had to be transported to the hospital.

http://detnow.com/wxyz/nw_local_news...871352,00.html

More info on the Studebaker Plant

http://detroityes.com/industry/14studepan.htm
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Old 06-22-2005, 09:43 AM
DeltAlum DeltAlum is offline
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What a shame. Good that the Ford facility was saved, but the rest is a real personal tragedy for those involved.
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Old 06-22-2005, 04:20 PM
AGDee AGDee is offline
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There actually is smoke and water damage to some of our records, per the email we received today.

My building is a few blocks from there and, oddly enough, we didn't smell anything yesterday, but today, all you can smell is "fire smell" in the air.
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