Winds Push Fires Through Dozens of Detroit Homes

September 9, 2010

Winds of up to 50 miles per hour fanned fires that tore through dozens of homes in three Detroit neighborhoods on the night of Sept. 7, officials said. No injuries were reported as of Sept. 8.

The National Weather Service reported that wind gusts of up to 50 mph whipped across the city.

Detroit fire Capt. Steve Varnas told the Detroit Free Press that some fires may have been caused by dead tree limbs being blown onto power lines. Many of the homes caught in the fires were vacant, Varnas said.

Detroit Fire Department spokeswoman Katrina Butler said firefighters had to douse several house fires that rekindled early on Sept. 8. She said fire authorities were investigating the cause of the blazes.

DTE Energy Co. spokesman John Austerberry said the utility was “looking into” possible links between its lines and the fires.

He said about 15,000 DTE customers remained without power, mostly in Detroit. Some 50,000 lost power a day earlier.

CMS Energy Corp. spokeswoman Debra Dodd said about 9,800 remained blacked out after 74,000 customers lost power due to the windstorm.

“Throughout the whole city, the same thing is happening: Wires down everywhere,” Varnas said.

Firefighters from neighboring Dearborn, Warren, Harper Woods and Grosse Pointe assisted the Detroit fire department, which has been hit by cutbacks in recent months,

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