A historic but abandoned school in Detroit has been lost after a fire broke out earlier this week.

The James A. Garfield school, which was also known as the Frank H. Beard school, was originally constructed in the late 1800s. As the surrounding area grew, the original building was torn down and re-built to host more kids. Eventually, the school was designated a historic Michigan site in 1984 but, permanently closed in 2014, according to Wikipedia.

While it has stood abandoned for years, the brick building had stood strong...until this week.

On Wednesday, July 27th, 2022, firefighters in the Detroit area responded to a 3 alarm fire at the historic building. The incident was captured on video and posted to Tiktok where it quickly went viral with over 300,000 views:

Comments on the video seemed to focus on one specific question: why wasn't more done to stop the fire?

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Why The Firefighters Kept Their Distance

If the building was occupied, it's safe to assume that more would have been done to control the fire. However, this is an old building that has been abandoned for years. That presents significant threats to anyone who may enter that building.

In an interview with WXYZ 7 in Detroit, the commenting Fire Chief said,

It's an older building, it's a brick building, and we don't want the building to land on anyone. It's intense heat, extremely dangerous. We don't want any civilians to go near this building. We don't want anyone hurt.

It's a valid concern considering the very next day, on Thursday, July 28th, 2022, a total of eight firefighters had to be hospitalized after a vacant home collapsed during a fire. Read more here.


In total, about 50 firefighters responded to the fire at the historic James A. Garfield school and worked from the outside to try and control it, according to wxyz.com. The cause is still under investigation.

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