In September of 1975 the Ferndale fire department received a call from Mr. Butler stating that he thought that the building across the street was on fire. It turned out to be the biggest commercial fire in the history of Ferndale; it started in the Ostrander Building and the destructive flames quickly spread to other buildings, including some residential apartments above the businesses.
A total of 6 other businesses were destroyed in the hungry fire on West Nine Mile that night. The businesses were Dottie’s Bridal Shop, S & S Novelties, Greater Michigan Insurance, Glueckman’s Jewelry, Joseph Rich Optometrist and Uniform World. This massive fire caused between $245,000 and $350,000 in damages and considering that was over 35 years ago, that’s a lot of money.
Over 2 million gallons of water were used and all the fire departments worked side by side until 3:00 a.m. in the morning; at that time the Birmingham, Royal Oak and Madison Heights fire departments were released and it took the Ferndale fire department until 10:00 a.m. the next morning to completely wrap things up. All this information plus pictures of this historical fire can be found at the Ferndale Historical Society web page.
I really wanted to know the cause of this incredible fire and I searched pretty hard for it but no site seems to know how this historical blaze started. If anyone should happen to know what caused the fire please leave the story in the comment section, we would love to know and it would make this history of Ferndale’s biggest commercial fire page complete.