Fire caused by fireworks in Shelby Twp. very minor, fire chief says

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – If you believe what some are saying on social media, you'd think a fireworks display took an unexpected turn and burned down historic buildings in Shelby Township In reality, those rumors have gotten way out of hand.

Shelby Township put on a fireworks show Monday night and a fire broke out afterward. But it happened exactly where firefighters expected it to. In fact, they were there waiting.

Cellphone video posted to social media and erroneous reports said the fire was massive and burned down buildings at the historic Packard Proving Grounds. But Tuesday afternoon, Roger Luksik, the president of the Packard Motor Car Foundation, took Local 4 News cameras onto the grounds and through those buildings, where there is no damage at all.

“This morning, my cellphone blew up,” Luksik said. “I got text messages and emails that our place burned to the ground.”

Luksik even took a sympathy phone call from a donor in Austria.

The proving grounds are actually about a quarter of a mile away from where the fireworks were launched, which was also a designated hot zone -- a place firefighters said they expect firework debris could fall and start a fire.

Patchy grass fires ignited, in all, maybe the size of a football field.

“When you have a professional show that (is) done correctly, you can plan for this,” Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski said.

Swinkowski said the story really got out of hand Monday night.

“It was a cellphone video that got to a media outlet and they wouldn’t take no for (an) answer of what really happened,” Swinkowski said.

Stay with Local 4 and ClickonDetroit.com as more information becomes available.

Sign up for ClickOnDetroit Email Newsletters (click here) for more stories like this.

About the Authors: