Another fire burns a Heidelberg Project house

Sep 30, 2014

The Birthday Cake House at the Heidelberg project was damaged in a fire.
Credit Heidelberg Project

This morning's fire marks the 11th house in the Heidelberg Project to be damaged by suspected arson. The project is an outdoor art installation on Detroit's east side.

The house, called the Birthday Cake House, was a vacant home on Heidelberg Street that Tyree Guyton, Heidelberg's creator, had boarded up and beautified.

Katie Hearn is the marketing and communications director from the Heidelberg Project.

"Instead of just putting normal brown boards on it, he painted birthday cakes on it as a reminder that every day is a celebration, so that's something that we're really holding on to today," she said. "You know, we're not going to let this get us down and stop us. We're going to do everything we can to continue our work."

This fire follows another arson less than two weeks ago that damaged an art gallery on Heidelberg Street. 

Arson investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are examining security footage from the Heidelberg Project.

Despite the rash of fires, Heidelberg is continuing to build. Volunteers gathered at the project on Saturday to erect a memorial for the House of Soul, which burned down last November. 

"It's very important to us that we're still hopeful," Hearn said. "That's kind of what this whole organization is based on, is hope. Tyree will always tell you that you can't heal the land unless you heal the people, and that's one way for him to try and do that right now."

The Heidelberg project will not be taking additional security measures due to monetary reasons. 

–Paige Pfleger, Michigan Radio Newsroom