FLINT, MI — Black smoke billowed over the skyline shortly after 2:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, on the city’s east side.

Neighbors watched as Flint firefighters responded to a house fire call in the 2100 block of Missouri Avenue.

When they arrived a few minutes later, the house was fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters began to eliminate the fire in the defense to avoid the spread of flames to neighboring objects.

The home, which fire officials said was unoccupied, was declared a total loss. It sat next to one occupied house and an empty lot.

This was not the first fire in the neighborhood in the last year.

The house is located directly across the street from the closed Washington Elementary School, which burned down on the night of October 7 of last year.

On the topic: Fire destroys shuttered Flint elementary school

The fire in 2021 took most of the day to put out and became a significant event for the area.

Brent Forbush, 33, a lifelong resident of the neighborhood, watched with dismay as another home in the area was destroyed by fire.

“This sucks. Everything is on fire here, and it makes the rest of our land look like garbage. I love our area,” Forbush said. “I work on my job every day and I want to be proud of it. Then I will come home before this? I don’t like it. This must be stopped.”

He said he has seen four fires in the past year and wants change for his family and neighbors.

Forbush remembers a brighter childhood that he enjoyed running around the streets and nearby parks with other friends and neighborhood kids.

“This area is no longer safe, and I probably won’t be until I leave here. It’s all this, the crime, the fires, the drugs, that’s what’s killing Flint,” he said. “… I can’t let my child go anywhere alone anymore because in this day and age we have to worry when they’re going to get hurt or shot or even killed.

“I want the city to become better. We need to end this. We need to be better.”

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