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Fire claims Detroit's 'Arm Pit' firehouse

March 4, 2009 at 4:08 PM

DETROIT, March 4 (UPI) -- Detroit firefighters say a historic fire station accidentally burned down by a member of its crew probably won't be rebuilt.

The Ladder Co. 14 firehouse on the city's east side was heavily damaged early Tuesday when an incense stick was left unattended as the crew responded to an alarm at an abandoned apartment complex.

Fire Capt. Steve Varnas of the arson squad told the Detroit News the station, which opened in 1901, would probably be stricken from the roster and its personnel reassigned.

The station had been nicknamed "The Arm Pit" by firefighters for many years because of the historically rough neighborhood it served.

"It was quite a large fire," Varnas said in describing the scene when the stunned Ladder 14 crew returned to its station. "There was smoke and flames rolling out the windows."

The News added Wednesday that the firefighters could not even put out the fire themselves because the pumper engine that used to be assigned to the station had been decommissioned a few years ago to save money.

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