Fire destroys historic Grosse Pointe Shores home

House believed to have been designed by Rupert W. Koch

GROSSE POINTE SHORES, Mich. – Fire crews in Grosse Pointe Shores battled two fires within minutes of each other Saturday morning.

The fires happened on Greenbriar and Roslyn streets.

The house on Roslyn Street was destroyed. Benjamin Gravel, a professional historian, took photos of what remained of the house.

“The Metro Detroit area loses another historic structure,” Gravel said.

The house is believed to be designed by University of Michigan graduate Rupert W. Koch.

Koch designed Detroit’s Graystone Ballroom, demolished in 1980, and the Leander J. Hoover Mansion in Ann Arbor.

“I’m heartbroken,” Gravel said. “I’d hate to see any house go up in flames.”

Fire Lieutenant Ken Werenski said the home’s older architecture made it more difficult to fight the fire.

“It’s a lot of open void spaces in there," Werenski said. "It just kind of traveled quickly on us.”

Fire crews did their best to try to save the home, but the fire hydrant stopped working. By the time crews hooked up to another hydrant, it was too late.

“The roof was compromised,” Werenski said. “The chimney was compromised, which did fall.”

The family who lived in the home heard the smoke alarms and got out of the historic building safely with their pet. They encourage everyone to check the batteries on their smoke detectors. The smoke detectors, the home owner said, was the only reason he was able to wake up and escape the home with his family at 5:45 a.m.

Local 4 is still waiting to hear updates on the home on Greenbriar Street.

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