Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flint Fires: Arson Close to Home

A house fire that threatened Guy Merritt's home on Flint's east side. For more photos go here. (Photo courtesy of Guy Merritt)


Flint resident Guy Merritt describes a harrowing experience on the arson frontlines:
All I can say is "Lemme outta here!" We've got two houses, across the street from each other, on Flint's east side. Two weeks ago three guys pulled up in front of one of our houses (where my wife's kids and grand kids sleep) and shot the hell out of it. It was the top of the news on WJRT. Luckily, no one was injured. (One of the perpetrators was angry with my wife's 22-year-old granddaughter.)

This morning, at about 6 a.m., a homeless guy was beating our door down screaming, "Get out, get out, you gotta get out!" A vacant house next door — about 15 feet away from where we were sleeping — had been set on fire.The fire dept. was screaming at me to move my truck from the driveway and I was terrified — the heat was incredible. I was sure the house would go. Luckily, the fire dept. has some automated sprinkler-type things they threw in our driveway.

I can't take anymore. I'm losing it, here. Here are some pics. This was my morning, and I'm supposed to go to work today — just not up to it.

7 comments:

  1. It's such a shame that the east side is going through this. I'm not old enough to remember the downfall of the north end, but I have witnessed the east side go downhill. My grandma lived at Nebraska and Meade until she passed in 2006, and my grandpa was next door to her until he passed last year. I remember walks in the neighborhood and people taking pride in the area, and though there are still people (like Guy) fighting the good fight, vacancies keep going up.

    I highly doubt these arson fires have any political purpose at this point. These are crimes of convenience, and as witnesses pointed out last week, two guys in their early teens were seen running from a fire. A real tragedy, not only for the loss of property, but for the life of crime these teens have begun.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Everyone on the block is on edge......going to be a sleepless night, for many.....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Guy...what are you going to do? Stay and fight or move? How scary for you and your family. My prayers are with you!

    RoadsideDinerLover

    ReplyDelete
  4. Boy, I do not know if i should feel sorry for you or be happy for you. I feel sorry you have not been able to get out of their. I feel sorry for you if you have been happy there the last 20 years. I am happy for you for finally realizing that enough is enough. So do something about it.. Get out or do something!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's a smell you never forget - and one that's choking me in my small office as I write. I drove home from work tonight at about 9:10 PM, making a left turn on Maryland Ave. from Dort Highway on my way to Arlington Ave.. My windows were down and I was enjoying a cool breeze. And, then, I smelled it. It's as unmistakable as the descriptions I've heard of a rotting corpse. A house was on fire - this early in the evening. As I passed the guy that sells barbecue, on the corner of Dort and Maryland, I tried to convince myself it was from the barbecue. I knew better. As I drove towards my house my heart raced and I just kept praying that the smell would become less pungent. But it only got worse.

    Than I saw the flames illuminating the night sky and it seemed to be right in the area of my small house. I could hear the popping and crackling and the night sky was lit up in orange. I kept thinking about my 3 small dogs, my wife, my stuff - everything. I'd left my cell with my wife. I was almost crying. Finally, I saw it. It was the house directly behind us and one lot to the north. Everyone was in the street and my wife was hysterical as huge, burning embers landed on our roof. I grabbed our three dog "kids" and threw them in my truck as gusts of wind blew the embers wildy......

    This is the Flint I know - and I want out...somehow. This is madness. This is making me crazy. There's an abandoned house on the south side of ours that the landlord refuses to tear down and it's nothing more than a shell. it's been gutted of virtually everything. Thank God I don't know who did this - and thank God I don't have a gun.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's a smell you never forget - and one that's choking me in my small office as I write. I drove home from work tonight at about 9:10 PM, making a left turn on Maryland Ave. from Dort Highway on my way to Arlington Ave.. My windows were down and I was enjoying a cool breeze. And, then, I smelled it. It's as unmistakable as the descriptions I've heard of a rotting corpse. A house was on fire - this early in the evening. As I passed the guy that sells barbecue, on the corner of Dort and Maryland, I tried to convince myself it was from the barbecue. I knew better. As I drove towards my house my heart raced and I just kept praying that the smell would become less pungent. But it only got worse.

    Than I saw the flames illuminating the night sky and it seemed to be right in the area of my small house. I could hear the popping and crackling and the night sky was lit up in orange. I kept thinking about my 3 small dogs, my wife, my stuff - everything. I'd left my cell with my wife. I was almost crying. Finally, I saw it. It was the house directly behind us and one lot to the north. Everyone was in the street and my wife was hysterical as huge, burning embers landed on our roof. I grabbed our three dog "kids" and threw them in my truck as gusts of wind blew the embers wildy......

    This is the Flint I know - and I want out...somehow. This is madness. This is making me crazy. There's an abandoned house on the south side of ours that the landlord refuses to tear down and it's nothing more than a shell. it's been gutted of virtually everything. Thank God I don't know who did this - and thank God I don't have a gun.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Guy, You are a great writer. I too felt the fear, despair and hopelessness that you described as I read your account of what happened. Your words put me right there next to you and brought tears to my eyes. I don't know you, but I pray that your family remains safe from the reckless and violent behavior that is over running what was once a once fine and pleasant place to live. I grew up on the South side but spent quite a bit of time in your neck if the woods growing up, walking around the 'state' streets without fear of harm. It's very sad to see how far Flint has fallen.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting.
www.teardownbook.com