An inferno broke out at 400 W. Washington St. at around 5:20 this afternoon. The blaze, which has overtaken the entire block, is expected to burn for several days, said Michael Skrypec, assistant chief of the Ann Arbor Fire Department.

Paul Wong
Ann Arbor Fire Department firefighters try to control the blaze at 400 W. Washington block.

“We have every truck in the city that’s available,” he said.

No one was reported injured as of 10:06 PM.

Skrypec added that one reason for the difficulty of extinguishing the fire is its jumbled construction.

“It’s a big cut-up,” Skrypec said. “There are actually four or five buildings that are all tied together.”

Skypec said that there would be no fire fighters rushing into the flames quite yet.

“We call (our strategy) defensive, which means we don’t put anybody in harm’s way, everybody sits out and we just lob water at it – treat it as a big trash fire,” he said.

The building, which was being demolished, is the future home of a new YMCA. Previously, it was a home and workplace for a large creative community, said Brendan Stern, an Ann Arbor resident who lives only a few houses away from that block.

“There used to be a bunch of installations for like artists that rent out rooms to put on their work,” he said.

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