House afire 

This historic firehouse at 1405 Taylor on Detroit’s West Side has ironically become a fire causality itself. Built in 1900, the station that once housed Engine Co. 43 has been out of commission since the ’70s. While the sturdy brick walls are largely intact, the roof is completely gone — a result of recent fires, according to neighbors. “There have been three fires in that building in the last year, one on Christmas Day of this past year,” Michael Tooles says. While the causes of the blazes are not known, Mary Tooles thinks arson has been a factor. “I could smell the accelerator on Christmas,” she says. The building also features ceramic tiling and copper gutters from a time “back when the city used to build buildings and put real work into them,” Mary Tooles says. But there may be hope for the old Engine 43 building in the future. Michael and Mary Tooles say that former Detroit Northern hoops standout Derrick Coleman recently purchased the property and has plans to turn the spacious building into a community recreational center for neighborhood kids. Maybe it’s because of our name, but the Abandoned Structure Squad (we always go by the acronym ASS when out working) could not reach anyone at the Derrick Coleman Foundation to comment on the status of the building. Hopefully this project did not get scrapped by Coleman, who was jettisoned by the Pistons earlier this season.

Editor’s note: If you know of an abandoned home you would like to see featured in this spot, send a photo and pertinent information to News Hits, c/o Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226 (or e-mail

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