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Posted on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

Several fires set in Ann Arbor after Michigan Wolverines lose NCAA championship to Louisville

By Staff

Update: Ann Arbor officials: Despite 9 fires, night of Michigan basketball loss was relatively tame

Soon after Louisville doused Michigan's hope of a national basketball title on the court, the Ann Arbor Fire Department was putting out several fires in the city.

As subdued crowds streamed out of bars and the Crisler Center, where U-M staged a watch party, firefighters were responding to calls of various items being lit on fire in neighborhood streets.


Ann Arbor firefighters put out a fire in parking lot on Kingsley Street in Ann Arbor after the Wolverines lost to Louisville Monday night.

Courtney Sacco |

It took just a few minutes after the Wolverines’ season ended for students to take to the streets in the area near Vaughn and Packard streets. On Vaughn, several people pulled a couch into the street and seemed ready to light it. However, they weren’t able to start a flame before an Ann Arbor police squad car pulled up with lights flashing. An officer pulled the couch to the curb and warned the crowd.

Around midnight, a box spring, sticks and what appeared to be a desk burned in the middle of White Street near McKinley Avenue while about 200 people looked on. The crowd cheered as firefighters put it out. The street was closed just after midnight as debris still smoldered. Crews later dealt with what looked like a small mattress fire in the same area.

Shortly after midnight, authorities put out a fire in the area of Hamilton Place north of East Jefferson Street. A couch and tree branches were reportedly burning.

Crews also extinguished a fire in a parking lot on East Kinglsley Street and North Ingalls and in the street at East University and Michigan Avenue.

At around 1 a.m., firefighters and police responded to the 1100 block of Church Street where a wooden pallet had been set ablaze. The fire was doused in a matter of minutes.

Officials were searching a house around 1:30 a.m. in the 1100 block of White Street, where a bottle with a rag protruding from the top was next to the house. One man was taken from the house on a stretcher, but did not appear to have been injured.

Another couch fire was reportedly quenched at 2:15 a.m. near South Main Street and Hoover Avenue.

Flocken estimated the total number of fires reported in the city as of 2:30 a.m. at about eight. Another unconfirmed fire was reported after that.

Ann Arbor police said they had only made two arrests, one of which was of a man for disorderly conduct in the 1200 block of South University Avenue.

“It’s actually been pretty normal for a night where you have U-M activity going on,” said Sgt. Craig Flocken. “There hasn’t really been anything major.”

Diane Brown, spokeswoman for U-M police, said they hadn't made any arrests as of 2 a.m. Many of the extra patrols that were brought into the city had already been sent home, she said.

Police had put extra patrols on Monday night, hoping to avoid the damage that occurred after the University of Michigan won the NCAA basketball championship in 1989.

Personnel from numerous Washtenaw County police agencies were in Ann Arbor to assist with policing the area following the game. Among the agencies are the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Saline Police Department, Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety and Ypsilanti Police Department, according to Ann Arbor police officials.

There was a heavy police presence at the intersection of South University Avenue and Church Street throughout the game, with several officers posted outside the various bars and taverns in that area. There were even officers posted on the rooftop of the China Gate Restaurant.

Four couches were burned Saturday night after the Wolverines beat Syracuse.

Watch video of the fire at White and McKinley below:

Firefighters extinguish a fire on Church Street in the video below.

View Fires in a larger map


Real Life

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

One of the signs of the impending apocalypse has been the couch and mattress burnings in East Lansing. Now, they come to the University of Michigan. OK, can we say what's left of civilization is now doomed? The crazy 60's refugee professors have now wreaked havoc here. Thank you very much for your empty, relativistic nihilism.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Nice. UofM students unable to accept their loss gracefully. For shame.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

Too bad that students have to resort to burning things during these events.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Why aren't arrests made?? Taxpayers money wasted! On both the Police and Fire Department


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

Too bad you aren't on the force. Sounds like you'd have been at every fire to make an arrest for burning a $5 couch. If only there were more officers like you.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

Thanks fans/students, the city just spent scarce street funds redoing Vaughn a couple of years ago. White from Arch to McKinley another example: walks not shoveled in winter; trash and leaves packed on the street curb-deep; catch basins clogged; yards trashed; trash bins always at the curb; and broken glass litters the street. I vote for no street improvements in student rental areas.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Seems that more students in today's day and age have less responsibility. I guess their purpose in life is to go to class, study and party.

Rob Pollard

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

I don't understand this part: "However, they weren't able to start a flame before an Ann Arbor police squad car pulled up with lights flashing. An officer pulled the couch to the curb and warned the crowd." Did the police officer(s) not see them actually trying to light the fire? Why weren't they arrested? Is that not a crime? The "warning" was given after Saturday's game. If A2 police wants to stop this (and it's clearly happening b/c it's getting recorded/reported on YouTube, Twitter, etc and the young adults are copycatting), they need have some people booked downtown, along with posting their arrest info for future employers. That's is a sure way to give these folks pause. Otherwise, it just becomes a "fun" event, as shown by the comment later in the story of them cheering the desk fire. They (A2, UM police) need to do a better job next time - before one of these "fun" fires ends up doing some real damage. And I didn't even need to look a map to know the "hot spot" would be south of the b-school. It's been that way for 20+ years. A2/UM should have known that as well.

Rob Pollard

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Thanks for your response Kyle. I don't see why A2/UM Police can't have in 3-4 "hot spots" next year cops on bikes or foot who can watch these areas and make any arrests after seeing the criminal behavior (not just saying "Hey, move that out the street, please? Thanks.) if it occurs. These aren't master criminals. I'm not sure if that's the best plan, but their plan the implemented on Monday was not sufficient. They knew this could happen based on Saturday and nothing improved.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:10 p.m.

Rob - I didn't see anyone with lighter fluid/matches/etc, but there were multiple people speaking around me stating their intent, or at least their desire, to burn the couch.

Rob Pollard

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

Kyle, that's not what the story said. It says, "On Vaughn, several people pulled a couch into the street and seemed ready to light it. However, they weren't able to start a flame ..." Is this "seemed ready to light it" part not accurate? Did the people have lighter fluid/matches out and visible or is this just a guess by someone? And youwhine - if they all ran away, how did the officer "warn" them? You can't warn someone if they aren't there; the story strongly indicates he talked to them. And to the part about tying up officers - the cops was already there. If the city doesn't considering burning random objects in city streets & lots an arrestable offense, well, they can look forward to it happening more and more saw more YouTube videos can be made. Just saying, "Hey you, put the matches away and skedaddle home" will do nothing.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Yeah, I am sure that in a large crowd of people the suspects dragging the couch just stood there to speak with police and didn't run away as soon as the police car hit the block. And even if they did, I'm sure it would have been prudent to tie up officers by arresting somebody for couch-dragging...thus depletingthe already scant resources available on the road.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

Rob - All that had happened at that point was a couch being pulled into the street. I don't think that's necessarily a crime, other than obstructing traffic.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

The Leaders and the Best setting an example...


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Attention city of Ann Arbor. Just send the bill to UM and not to the taxpayers. Even in that scenario I'm sure the taxpayers will still wind up footing the bill, but at least UM won't just absorb the money.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

So is this the "economic activity" arising from the playoffs that people were talking about yesterday? Taxpayer money spent cleaning up after the UM's customers? Maybe they plan to reimburse the city. I'm sure the mayor will be right on that.

Jon Wax

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

give em a steel toe sandwich and call it a day. buncha punks. win... riot. lose... riot. your "parents" suck. Peace Wax

Kai Petainen

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

"It's actually been pretty normal for a night where you have U-M activity going on" I'm not sure if starting fires.... is normal.

Brighton mom

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

I thought the same thing! Maybe they'll add that to their brochure. "A typical night at U of M could include, movie at the State Theater, dinner at Fleetwood, and a little couch burning"!


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

Exactly. Your tax dollars at work.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

MSU's got nothin on these kids. I wonder if couch burning is becoming an Ann Arbor tradition?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

8am class today: Buehler? Buehler? Buehler?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:36 a.m.

Was in Ann Arbor as game ended. All in all, nothing out of the ordinary. The police presence was there but seemed low key. Is a little scary to realize that the people staggering around, walking into traffic, are our future leaders..........wait, could they be in training?

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

That's pretty much what our reporters noticed on the streets last night. It seems that AAPD and AAFD were well prepared for the evening and for the most part students and fans responded in a reasonable manner. Granted a few here have noted that lighting the fires wasn't the best idea, which is obviously correct, but I do think it is noteworthy that most of these were small fire and considering the number of people around downtown the evening was reasonably tame. We've all seen the videos online/tv of cars being flipped, windows smashed, etc and we were no where near that type of situation.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:19 a.m.

What great use of our resources, our firefighters.... Hey! I have a great idea. Let's build even MORE really big student high rises and bring them right downtown! Won't that be great?


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

I'm sure they got the couches off porches to use.. wait isn't there an ordinance against that?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

I'm picturing a flaming sofa flying off a balcony.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

They could just throw the couch out the window, I'm sure with all the brainiacs at the U someone will figure that out


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

Hm. I'm sure you're right. Since they can't drag a couch down 6 (or 25) stories to the street, they will no doubt respect their surroundings and treat them with care and not trash anything, especially with so many of them massed into one space.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

actually yes. Its harder to drag a couch down 6 stories to the street. I think its worth noting that no one knows how many miscreants were actually students at the U but i am confident the number was less than 100%.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:42 a.m.

We knew there'd be some disorderly conduct the night of this particular game. I wonder though who it was decided to let all the traffic signals go to flasher mode on Main Street on THIS PARTICULAR night. Considering the traffic jam that this game caused on Main, it's a wonder the signal lights weren't left "on" to function as intended - at least an hour or two past the usual time (11 PM, I think). Anyone who attempted to cross at a crosswalk faced higher than normal risk - and there were plenty of people trying get across Main Street.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

They always change to flashing at midnight with the exception of Main and Huron and I believe Packard and Main....I live downtown and was out last night and had no problem. I walked to Huron to cross with the light...but wait, that's rgiht, I was sober.

Kyle Austin

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

I thought the same thing, Tru2Blu76. Having thousands of pedestrians, no traffic signals and no doubt a few drunk drivers was a dangerous mix.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

fans have the right of way & own AA... neat, huh?

Thomas Cook

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

White St. between Arch and McKinley is a particularly nasty pigsty, I've been in parts of the north end of Flint that were better maintained. Streets are always full of garbage and broken glass. Worst student ghetto in the city.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:37 a.m.

Good lord, people. Let's keep it classy, huh?!


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

yeah, like the kid puking outside my apartment window....

Tom Joad

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:30 a.m.

Glad Michigan Lost Probably would have been chaos had they won...


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:21 a.m.

We lost to *Louisville...


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:19 p.m.

Well certainly not "Kentucky" like the article said before. COMPLETELY different teams.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

It's Luavulle...kinda like Mungumery AL...took me years to lose the accent


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

Lullville? I got family from there....thought for the longest time that's how it was spelled.....


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:17 a.m.

I know if any of these arsonists....albeit aspiring to be highly educated arsonists....was one of my kids, I'd be so proud they are learning grace, even in a losing situation, and good sportsmanship. It's no wonder Michigan lost with this type of behavior....but then again, they set sofas on fire when they beat Syracuse....oh's 1:10 and the fire trucks are rolling downtown again! Ijust love it when our tax dollars for valuable resources such as Police and Fire are squandered on a bunch of drunk punks who feel they are entitled to wreak havoc. God forbid someone actually will need to be rescued in a life or death situation and our valued AAPD and AAFD are tied up babysitting a bunch of spoiled disrespectful twits.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

djm, very well said!


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:02 a.m.

Oh, good grief! Don't the synthetic materials in couches give off toxic fumes when burned? This is Ann Arbor, people! Think about the air pollution you're causing. Yes, I'm disappointed about losing the game. Not enough to suffocate my neighbors though.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:20 a.m.

I get the want them to think? Most of the troublemaker's lost that function when their BAL reached .16 and that was at tip-off!