Saginaw Fire Chief Tom Raines says a three-story vacant building is lucky to still be standing after a fire just before 11:30 this morning.
Raines says fire crews were on their way back from another call when they noticed thick smoke and flames coming from the second and third floor of the abandoned building at 800 Genesee avenue- the former Straight Gate Ministries.
“Our crews had just returned from an automatic fire alarm that was a false alarm. When they got back they saw smoke coming from the building a block or two from the station.”
He says the while it was close by the fire station, flames had already spread from the second floor to the third by the time firefighters arrived with proper safety equipment.
“When we arrived it was on the second floor. It had already extended into the third floor, into the attic area, and raced across the front of the building. It ‘s unstable now, and all the floors in between have fallen through, making the standing walls free-standing brick.”
No one was reported injured, but Raines says a cause may never be fully identified because of dangerous conditions inside the building.
“We know it started on the second floor, but the building is vacant and unsecured so there’s a high probability it was a suspicious fire. It looks like we maybe have had people crashing or squatting. It very well could have been accidental, but we’re not going to get a chance to investigate thoroughly because the building has been compromised to a point where it’s dangerous to put people inside.”
The fire was extinguished by 12:10pm, but roads remained closed until 2pm as crews continued to investigate the fire as much as they could.
Officials from consumers energy were also on site working to remove electrical and gas connections to prevent any outages due to downed lines in the event of a building collapse.