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Posted on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Ann Arbor's Maynard House evacuated after fire starts near basement incinerator

By Sven Gustafson

Ann Arbor firefighters evacuated the Maynard House building downtown Sunday after finding a fire in a trash chute that had spread upward several floors.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 400 Maynard St. at 12:30 p.m. No injuries were reported in the incident.

“It’s out, I believe that it was started by the incinerator,” Battalion Chief Robert Vogel said. “They burn their trash at four in the morning, and they believe that the guy left the door open, and it caught fire to the trash left next to it.”

Firefighters first found fire in the basement in a trash chute. They later determined that fire was also burning inside the trash chute on the first and second floors, Vogel said.

Firefighters, who were on the scene roughly 90 minutes, were able to contain the fire to the basement incinerator area and chute.

Smoke was found on all floors, including the 11th-floor penthouse, Vogel said. There, firefighters also found a small fire after the occupant left the stove on after hearing the fire alarm and evacuating the building.

Dispatchers reported receiving numerous 9-1-1 calls, mostly from residents who reported smoke.

The Maynard House is a 74-unit high rise comprised of studio and one-bedroom apartment units, two two-bedroom penthouse units on the 11th floor and four street-level businesses. A woman who answered the phone at Post Realty Properties, which manages the building, said Sunday that the office was closed and no one was available to comment.

Fire personnel used fans to clear the building of smoke. It wasn't clear whether occupants had been allowed back in the building, Vogel said. The fire inspector was still investigating the premises as of Sunday afternoon.

Contact freelancer Sven Gustafson at sventg123(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow him on Twitter.


Ed Glazier

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

I lived in Maynard House from 1970-80. There was (and apparently still is) a trash chute on each floor beside the elevators. The chute led to an incinerator in the basement. It got stopped up frequently. In those days, there was far less concern about incinerating trash and no concern at all about recyling!


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Hey Sven, have you considered returning to the building to find out why the fire department had to go back there 2 more times and spray water within 12 hours? From what my friend has told me, there were a lot of angry residents that didn't feel comfortable sleeping there last night not knowing if the fire was still smoldering along with the elevators not working at the same time. I guess the fire department needed 3 tries to find the last of the fire near midnight. I would sleep there either. Each time they leave they say "fire's out". And we keep hearing about broken ladder trucks... there are a LOT of questions surrounding this incident!

Sven Gustafson

Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

@yourdad, Thanks for the info. I'll pass it along to the staff writers for possible follow-up (I was just covering the Sunday desk).


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

..."wouldn't sleep there..." sorry


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

JDed raises valid question- "So what would have been the FD's response had the fire spread and cut off part of the building" This is a concern with tall buildings, and I don't see in the article if the building has sprinkler suppression systems and if so, did they activate? With regards to the Ladder Truck issue- the Fire Dept. has a working ladder truck, saw it at a demonstration event for the Ann Arbor Citizen's Police, Fire, and Courts Academy session last week. The truck that is out of commission is their "Tower" Truck, this is the kind that has the 'bucket' platform at the top of the ladder, which can assist fire-fighters in saving people trapped at heights being brought down safely. The working ladder truck's ladder is the kind that can only accommodate personnel in single file to and from the top, while functional it's not as versatile. A new Tower Truck costs upwards of $1.2 million and is something the Fire Dept. would certainly hope to add to their working fleet.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

The trash burning thing aside . . . . As far as I have read on this website, Ann Arbor's ladder truck is broken (out for repairs/fixed??) So what would have been the FD's response had the fire spread and cut off part of the building


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

I'm glad no one was injured. But this seems like a good time say that that is one ugly, ugly building.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

Most of the large building in Ann Arbor burn their trash at night.Would you rather see overflowing dumpsters attracting rats or would you like to burn the trash daily.I would like to see the trash burnt myself.Think about it!


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Its less trash in our landfills


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

Perhaps, an intrepid, young reporter could do some digging and report on why this building is allowed to burn trash. I can't burn leaves, but they can burn their trash. Why is that allowed.?


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

The fire was really started by stray RF emissions from the building's new "smart" electric meter.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

Since they still get to use an incinerator, does this mean I can go back to using my burn barrel? Maybe if I heat water and cook hot dogs over it I can get a tax credit for waste energy recovery.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

Hold on, let me get that straight....they burn TRASH in the middle of the a high rise !?!?! Squeaky clean and green tree city!?!? Something stinks here and it's not the normal scent of downtown restaurant grease!

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

what sort of "trash" do they burn?