DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Police and Detroit Fire are responding to a massive fire and HAZMAT situation at a vacant building on the city's west side.
The building is located near Pittsburg and Martin, north of I-94. Police are shutting down Wagner Street to keep traffic away from the area.
Residents in the area are asked to close their doors and windows. Thick smoke can be seen pouring toward nearby homes.
There have been no evacuations at this time and no one has been hurt.
While neighbors wonder exactly what happened, Paul Krystyniak says he knows what was in this building before the fire, and has pictures to prove it.
"There were hundreds of boxes marked hazardous waste. So we took pictures," said Krystyniak.
7 Action News went digging through state and county records and found multiple people and companies with ties to the building.
The building at one time belonged to Braden Properties and Attorney Ari Kresch. Kresch is CEO of 1-800-LAW-FIRM in Southfield. Sources there say support beams had been stolen, hurting the building's value. Kresch then thought the taxes were too high, so he let stopped paying them.
Then on August 28th, he sold it. A quit claim deed and receipt show Raoul Mangrum bought it for $1000. Who mangrum is explains pictures of medical waste boxes inside the building taken by neighbors just before the fire.
"The purpose of the building was for me to operate my company, a medical waste transport and disposal company," explained Mangrum,.
He owns Biochem Technical Services LLC. He says in the boxes are needles, shots, and other medical waste materials. Mangrum says he didn't realize when he bought the building that he couldn't afford the back taxes due, and it now belongs to the county
"I was just going to wait until the building went to auction because I couldnt come up with the tax money," said Mangrum.
Mangrum admits that his business was having some cash flow problems, and was not keeping up with the waste as he wanted to.
7 Action News asked him if he had anything to do with the fire.
"I had nothing to do with the fire," he said. "I had not been to the building today until I learned there was a fire and I rushed down there."
Ironically, Mangrum insists that even though he didn't own the building anymore he was trying to find a way to take the medical waste to an incinerator, so it could be burned.