A fire is anyone’s worst nightmare. Well before dawn on Wednesday morning, we began receiving the dreaded calls and texts that our Reclaim Detroit warehouse, mill shop, and showroom—where 12 people are employed in the largest deconstruction venture in Detroit—were up in flames. As alarming as the images are, they do not do justice to the full devastation. In fact, as we create this appeal, the fire continues to blaze and consume the last remnants of the salvaged lumber, retail products, wood working equipment, and office supplies that we have. What will remain when the smoke clears will be ashes--and our fighting spirit.
Reclaim Detroit is determined to survive this. We have battled through funding cuts, relocations, severe winters, and a shortage of deconstruction jobs for several years. Our mission is to turn blight into value – our work creates jobs for Detroiters, diverts tons of waste from landfills, and preserves Detroit’s old growth hardwood beams and architectural elements for re-use.
As of yesterday, we were poised to lead a Re-use Revolution in Detroit and begin a new round of job training to put 70 people back to work. Today, our warehouse resembles a war zone, but our resolve remains strong: to continue to lead in promoting and practicing deconstruction in Detroit. But we do need your help – and a lot of it – to get back on our feet quickly.
We are estimating the full cost of recovery at nearly $500,000, and this does not include all of the lost income from being out of work. Insurance will help with a small portion of this, but purchasing scores of new machines, finding a new home, and rebuilding all of our infrastructure will take a much greater investment. We will get there. Our first priority is to support our staff throughout the recovery. Your donations for will directly benefit Reclaim employees and their families over the next several months.
Thank you for being with us through this extremely challenging time. Just as Detroiters have done again and again, we will rise from the ashes and continue to use Detroit’s vacant homes to create jobs and turn our history into works of beauty.