Ann Arbor officials say Maynard Street fire started in restaurant kitchen, not vape shop

Firefighters originally thought fire began in vape shop

Photos from a Jan. 20, 2023, fire on Maynard Street in Ann Arbor. (WDIV)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ann Arbor officials said a fire that tore through businesses on Maynard Street last week started in the kitchen of a restaurant, not the nearby vape shop.

Ann Arbor fire Chief Mark Kennedy said firefighters were called around 7 a.m. Friday (Jan. 20) to investigate smoke on Maynard Street between Liberty and Williams streets near the University of Michigan campus.

Crews found a fire burning at a commercial one-story building that included the Vape City vape shop and Indian restaurant Madras Masala. The fire was “deep-seated” and firefighters were concerned about sections of the building collapsing, Kennedy said.

Firefighters initially believed the fire originated in the vape shop. Kennedy said there were many very flammable products in the vape shop that “really took the fire off.”

The owner of the vape store told Local 4 on Friday that it opens at 10 a.m., so nobody was inside at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported.

Officials with the Ann Arbor Fire Department announced Monday morning that the fire is now believed to have started in the kitchen ventilation system of the restaurant.

“This fire had been burning in the ventilation system and attic for a significant length of time prior to the initial 911 call,” the department’s social media post says.

The kitchen wrapped around the vape shop, and the vape shop didn’t run the length of the building, according to authorities. That layout caused officials to believe that the fire had started in the vape shop, they said.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.