Photographer's Note

About 2 miles north of downtown Detroit is an area that some call the "Cradle of the Automobile". In three blocks you could find a former Studebaker factory, Fisher Body and the birth place of Ford's Model T, the Ford Piquette Avenue building.

This is the Studebaker factory or what remains of it. About 10 p.m. on June 20 a fire broke out that spread across all floors of the massive block size 500 x 200 foot (150 x 60 meter) building. It quickly became a 5 Alarm fire that could be seen for miles in the night sky. Approximately 150 firefighters using 20 engines and 8 aerial units to were called to fight the blaze. By 1:15 the the fire was under control but the building was a complete loss as its wood frame fueled the flames sending its beautiful brick facade crashing into the street. But two days later the ruble was still smoking as fire trucks remained watering down the debris. But because of the excellent skills of the Detroit Fire Department they were able to save the buildings across the street, including Ford's Model T facility.

The building had been mostly abandoned for years. Built 100 years ago it saw many uses, first by the Wayne and EMF automobile companies, then Studebaker. It served as the Piquette Armory and then as a warehouse for some time before it was abandoned. Parts of it were still used for storage and part of the eastern end was used as the Piquette Meat Market.

Here someone who looks like a chief monitors the situation. The fire department did a remarkable job containing the blaze which, when seen from the air, was a wild and raging inferno with flames spitting into the night sky. Luckily only two of these brave men and women were treated for very minor injuries and there was no one in the building at the time of the blaze.

Title from the Beatles' "A Day in the Life".

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Additional Photos by Paul Mastrogiacomo (pamastro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2679 W: 164 N: 2696] (7296)
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