Fire Destroys Coins & Stamps on Mack Avenue
City of Grosse Pointe fire investigators have begun their investigation into the overnight fire that destroyed the collectibles store and left neighboring businesses with smoke damage.
An intrusion alarm alerted City of Grosse Pointe public safety officers to a problem at Coins and Stamps on Mack Avenue shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday. That alarm was immediately followed by a fire alarm from the same business, Director of Public Safety Stephen Poloni said.
Firefighters, including Poloni, remained on the scene well into the morning as they began the investigation and ensured the fire did not re-ignite. The blaze took crews from the City, the Farms and the Park about an hour and a half to put out, Poloni said.
It destroyed the inside of Coins and Stamps and heavily damaged neighboring businesses, Henry's Cleaners and Crowther Carpet and Rugs. Owners from all of the businesses that share the common building split into several store fronts were behind the building shortly before 9 a.m. contacting their insurance companies and determining the level of damage.
The same store has been the target of two after hours burglaries this year. Detectives are still investigating both of those cases, which they believe may be related. In the first case, three men broke in, and in the second, one man broke in.
Poloni said it was unclear whether Wednesday's early morning blaze could also be related but the possibility will certainly be investigated. Poloni declined comment about whether investigators had found anything at the scene to suggest the fire was set intentionally.
Investigators had only begun the process shortly before 8 a.m. after the other crews were able to clear the scene. They had not yet interviewed neighbors or other potential witnesses, but that will happen today and in the coming days.
While Patch was photographing the damage early Wednesday, at least one resident who lives nearby voiced concern about the repeated issues the store has had to Poloni, explaining it scared him. Poloni told the man he should not be scared.
Police were alerted to both burglaries from intrusion alarms sent by Coins and Stamps alarm company, similar to the fire. The intrusion alarm that alerted public safety early Wednesday indicated entry had been made through the rear window of the building, which is covered in metal barring. The burglars made entry through the front window by throwing a rock and a piece of asphalt respectively through it.
Coins and Stamps does have video surveillance equipment, which has aided in the investigation of the burglaries. But it was not clear whether officials will be able to retrieve anything from the system following the fire.
Charred remains were all that could be seen through the front and rear entrances of the business early Wednesday.
Patch is attempting to contact the owner of Coins and Stamps.