String of fires is under investigation after two markets went up in flames on Detroit’s east side

Witness says he watched one market get firebombed

DETROIT – A string of fires remain under investigation after fires broke out at two markets on Detroit’s east side over the weekend.

One witness said he watched as one of the markets he believed was firebombed.

The first liquor store burned early Sunday (Jan. 8), and right after that, another market on Chalmers Street and Wilshire Drive was engulfed in flames.

“I heard a big kaboom,” said the church’s pastor next door.

The pastor was holding services when the fire broke out. He says he believes both buildings were torched on purpose.

“My members had seen a car pull up,” the pastor said. “They looked right at the members of my church and then reached in, pulled bottles out of their backseat, and threw them on the roof right in front of the members of my church.”

Sources tell Local 4 that a house fire around the same time as the market fires could also be related.

The pastor says he believes the market’s owners are innocent targets. He says word is spreading that someone is targeting liquor stores in the area as some sort of unrelated retaliation.

The pastor did not want to be identified as he doesn’t want his church to be next.

“I’m hoping that the neighborhood would help out and keep an eye out on the church because they seen the members of the church look right at them,” the pastor said.

Investigators said they’ll have to comb through debris for evidence.

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.