Pauline apartment fire: 'The whole building was fully involved'
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Previous story: Fire breaks out at vacant apartments on Pauline
Up to 40 firefighters responded to the fire that destroyed a vacant apartment building in Ann Arbor on Saturday morning.
Ann Arbor Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard said the fire was raging through the building - one of three at 1500 Pauline on the city's west side - when firefighters arrived after 6 a.m.
"The whole building was fully involved," Hubbard said.
Crews from the Ann Arbor Fire Department launched what Hubbard called a defensive attack on the flames to prevent it from spreading further as commanders called in additional resources from neighboring communities.
At the height of the incident, up to 40 firefighters, including crews from Pittsfield Township, Ypsilanti Township and Ypsilanti, converged on the property.
The complex has been vacant as it awaits demolition, with the last tenants moving out Sept. 20. Owner Avalon Housing planned to raze the structures and build a new complex with 32 affordable housing units and a community center.
The building that was destroyed was at the northern edge of the property. A building closer to Pauline remains standing, appearing intact from the street but suffering siding damage from the extreme heat on the side closest to the blaze.
The third building on the property, located to the east adjacent to Fritz Park, also suffered some damage. All three - and the foundation of a previously demolished fourth building - had been fenced off after the last residents moved out.
Crews were still on the scene at 11 a.m. Saturday, as heavy equipment operators cleared debris and a contingent of firefighters dealt with controlling the "hot spots."
The building was fully involved for about two hours, Hubbard said.
"We're not sure of the cause," Hubbard added. The city's fire marshal also was on-site at 11 a.m., investigating the origins of the fire.
Graffiti covers the front building closest to Pauline, including some epithets directed toward police.
Hubbard said there's no indication so far that it could be connected to the fire: "We're not sure it has anything to do with this."
No one was injured in the blaze. Hubbard also said his crews did not have evidence early Saturday that anyone may have been living on the property.
Firefighters previously had trained in the vacant buildings.
Washtenaw Affordable Housing Corp. applied for a demolition permit in February, according to the city's online records. Avalon officials said the permit was finalized on Tuesday.