DETROIT (WXYZ) — After years of battling with the city of Detroit over dozens of blight notices, the family that owns the home at 2712 Cass Avenue woke up to learn it was destroyed by fire.
The property had become popular when the owners refused to sell it to the developers of Little Caesars Arena.
“To see this right here is extremely hurtful. My family’s hurt," Deyjohn McCain told 7 Action News as he looked at the rubble.
"Family have clothes in there, photos, all sentimental value stuff. Now it’s just all gone," he explained.
The land was in demand as the area came to life within the past decade. The family once listed it for nearly $5 million, but it didn't sell.
McCain said his grandmother owns the home, and she was just recently in the process of remodeling.
“The basement, the bathrooms, the electricity, the heating, the water, everything that we had to spend numerous of hours on to pull permits,” he explained.
The fire also damaged the fence separating the home from the adjacent parking lot and sent debris into lot. A company contracted by Illitch family-owned Olympia Development, which owns the lot, cleared debris from the space.
During that time, firefighters made their way back to the rubble to put out hot spots. Arson investigators were also on scene as one of the main questions is how did the property catch fire. The family has its own theory, but they say they're focused on what's next.
“Our goals are to clean up and rebuild, keep it in the family," McCain said.
The police department said it’s early in the investigation, and they'll release any information at a later time. The fire department hasn't returned a message yet.
7 Action News reached out to Olympia Development. The company had no comment and referred the news to the fire and police departments.