Detroit's Heidelberg art project releases video of apparent arson in latest fire

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DETROIT — Surveillance cameras recorded a person pouring an accelerant into the rear of a house that's part of the Heidelberg Project before setting it on fire, a spokeswoman for the outdoor art project said Wednesday.

Houses in the outdoor art installation have suffered repeated fires in recent months. The "Taxi House" was the latest, badly burned Nov. 23.

"The good news is that our new security system caught the arsonist in the act," Katie Hearn said in a news release. "We have video confirmation of one hooded assailant pouring a substance into the back of the structure, before igniting the accelerant and fleeing."

The video also shows that the person may have suffered burns to the face and upper body "after the accelerant exploded upon ignition," Hearn added.

Footage has been turned over to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"We're looking to see if it can be enhanced," Donald Dawkins, an ATF spokesman, said. "We certainly want to take time and take a look at it."

The ATF is working with Detroit arson investigators on the string of fires, Dawkins said.

The "Taxi House," which has tires on the outside and paintings of cars, was the Heidelberg Project's 12th fire in 18 months.

Other structures torched over that time include the "Clock House," the "War House" and "The House of Soul."

Artist Tyree Guyton founded the Heidelberg Project in 1986 in response to urban decay. The two-block area became known for its art created from vacant houses and shoes, clocks, vinyl records, stuffed animals and other found or discarded objects.


Online:

Video released by Heidelberg Project: http://bit.ly/12uTKGv

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