Detroit art installation targeted by arson fires

DETROIT – Another structure in the Heidelberg Project, burned Thursday morning, one more in a series of arson fires at the world-renowned art installation.

Detroit Fire Department Arson Unit Captain Charles Simms said the vacant home at Elba and Mt. Elliott, dubbed “The War Room,” was set ablaze at 5:37 a.m. EST. A security guard at the site saw someone running from the scene, but no arrests have been made.

Heidelberg Project spokeswoman Katie Hearn said the structure was next to the charred remains of the House of Soul, a building covered with vinyl LPs which was destroyed by fire Nov. 12. She said it wasn’t part of the seven original anchor structures but is part of the art installation.

Four of the seven original anchor structures are still standing.

The last fire a week ago destroyed the Penny House. Deemed arson, the blaze led the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI to join the investigation. A fire destroyed the Obstruction of Justice house, known as the OJ House, Oct. 5, according to the group.

Artist Tyree Guyton created the Heidelberg Project in 1986, slowly decorating abandoned homes with colorful designs and found objects.

The group has been trying to raise funds through a web portal to increase security at the site at “Art from the Ashes: Securing a Legacy.”

For more information on the installation, visit www.heidelberg.org.

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