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CITY ON FLAMES

Fire on Nine Mile building Photo

On Friday, September 19, 1975 at 8:53 PM, Mr. Butler, of Butler’s Office Supply at 163 West Nine Mile phones the fire station telling them that he believes there is a fire across the street from him. Trucks are dispatched and upon arriving they find the Ostrander building ablaze. After some time and due to the extent of the fire, Ferndale calls in help from 3 cities Royal Oak, Birmingham, and Madison Heights to assist in putting out the fire. Birmingham sends a pumper truck, Royal Oak sends a pumper and aerial ladder truck, Madison Heights sends its Snorkel truck.

Fire on Nine Mile snorkel Photo

Fire on Nine Mile firemen Photo

As they continue to fight the fire, it begins to rain, but does not seem to help. Around 3:00 AM the situation is considered under control and the other cities trucks are released. By 10:00 AM the next day things are wrapping up and the trucks return to their stations.

In total, 6 stores are destroyed in the fire and damages estimates are between $245,000-$350,000.

The stores destroyed were: Dottie’s Bridal Shop, S&S Novelties, Greater Michigan Insurance, Glueckman’s Jewelry, Joseph Rich Optometrist and Uniform World, and residential apartments above the storefronts.

Some 2 million gallons of water are used and it took 60 officers and firemen from 3 cities including Ferndale to combat the fire.

The Ostrander building fire is considered to the biggest commercial fire in Ferndale’s history to date.

Fire on Nine Mile next day Photo

Ostrander Building pre fire Photo
Early photo of the Ostrander Building
This story and more can be found in the book Tough as Nails: A History of the Ferndale Fire Deptment by Chief Roger Schmidt

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