October 30, 2010, - 10:13 pm

Devil’s Night, Er . . . “Angels Night” in Detroit: How Many Fires?

By Debbie Schlussel

Technically, tonight is Devil’s Night in Detroit.  It’s the night before Halloween and, traditionally, the night on which a ton of home fires via arson erupt all over Detroit.  But since many kids are going Trick-or-Treating tonight, instead of Halloween–tomorrow night’s a school night–the Devil’s Night weekend began last night with 41 houses deliberately set on fire across D-Mecca.


(Photo From Michigan Keepsake Video & Photo)

Every year, I take bets on how many fires there will be.  Cop friends of mine in the DPD tell me that the City constantly downplays the number of fires.  And since this weekend it’s two nights (****  CORRECTION: Three Nights, including Halloween Night) of this stuff, the number could be double. Last year’s “official” number was 35 fires.

Frankly, I have mixed feelings about the fires.  While some are set by vandals, others–many others–are usually set by angry residents tired of crack houses and abandoned dilapidated eyesores in their neighborhoods, and the City still won’t tear most of them down.  Residents take matters–and matches–into their own hands as a last resort effort. Yes, I know it’s still a hazard and that fires spread. But what would you do if you had a crack house in your neighborhood, its addicts and gang members terrorizing you on the street, and no-one did anything about it (and you couldn’t afford to move out)? I do feel for the brave Detroit firemen, though, who are overworked and understaffed and putting their lives on the line, especially on this night.

As I’ve noted before, recent Rush Limbaugh biographer and former Detroiter Ze’ev Chafetz wrote a great book on it, Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit.” At the time Chafetz wrote about it, late Detroit then-Mayor Coleman A. Young presided over D-town, and the number of fires rose to 400 on Devil’s Night. Looks like Detroit is inching back up that way.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I’m not allowed to call it “Devil’s Night.”  You see, the Detroit media–who like to whitewash all things Detroit and put lipstick on a pig–call it “Angels’ Night.”  Sorry, folks, but there ain’t nothin’ angelic about anything in Detroit.  Saying so doesn’t make it so.

So how many fires total do you think there will be on this Devil’s Night weekend 2010?  I gave you a hint with last night’s total of 41. I would guess somewhere around 75 total, but that’s being conservative. What’s your number?


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19 Responses

That COULD be a trick question. How many will the local media actual report? There must be a way to find out how many calls the DFD went on after the fact.
My neighborhood is nice and quiet.lol
I’ll go with a nice round number like say 90.

samurai on October 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm

It is amazing that any city would be famous for such a thing. Apparently, insurance fraud is alive and well in that city. A vandal who is really out of it might try something like, but it is just as likely fed up residents or someone who is willing to pay someone to get out of a mortgage on a derelict property.

Worry01 on October 31, 2010 at 2:42 am

Well ,Europeans do not understand it Halloween, this day of mourning for us, we do not celebrate our heroes dead we just remember of dead family members. It is as if a funeral tell me happy birth day.

Christa Horvath on October 31, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Well ,Europeans do not understand it Halloween, this day of mourning for us, we do not celebrate our heroes dead we just remember of dead family members. It is as if a funeral tell me happy birth day.

    Christa Horvath on October 31, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Please see my reply below Christa’s comment::::

    No Christa All Souls day is November 1st. I see you are Hungarian. I am Marie Horvath so my Husband and his family taught me all i know.

    Marie on October 31, 2013 at 9:14 am

They stop burning early because they have to go to school the next day?

Hopefully they won’t burn down the schools.

Has Devil’s night spread to the Muslim population in the Detroit area?

Little Al on October 31, 2010 at 8:47 am

I don’t exaggerate in saying that I first heard of the event in the ‘seventies, when Cass Corridor was starting to look like Beirut. For those uninformed, after dark the only white people you see in downtown Detroit – excluding Greek Town and sports bars on Michigan Ave, and maybe around Wayne State U – are either cops or firemen. And they are sorely needed.

Ropeadope on October 31, 2010 at 8:50 am

Detroit is an alive and well hellhole. I just can’t think of a worse place and everytime I hear of the mishagas of what is allowed to go on, I get more and more disgusted.

Robert Plant had a great song in the 80’s called “Worse Than Detroit” and as a pre-teen then, I had no idea what the hell the title meant and thought it was strange and funny. As an adult now, I now know what he means.

We are losing on all fronts. Society is debasing more and more each day and sympathy is with the devil these days.

I think there will be 83 homes torched. I don’t think I’d be able to contribute a # if I lived in hellhole Detriot…it’d be a little too close to the bone.

Skunky on October 31, 2010 at 10:38 am

On Skunkys note, every time I hear about the low graduation rates in Detroit I laugh. Some how some way some media outlets will automatically point their finger at the government programs or the white suburbs. Funnier still is the fact that a few years ago a rich white guy(can’t remember his name)who helped other school systems around the country had offered to help detroit if they’d go with his plan, with him in charge of his own money. The school board and Kilpatrick basically flipped him off for being white. Look at the situation there now!lol What a great decision by great minds that turned out to be!lol I talked to a black coworker about the deal back then and she (very hatefully)explained that the blacks don’t wanna be dictated to by some outsider white m—–f—-r. I just shook my head at her. I told her those words will haunt her. Probably not but they still are in the same shit soup. I couldn’t care less.

samurai on October 31, 2010 at 12:05 pm

But then again, there may very well be some logic to Devil’s Night that I haven’t sufficiently recognized. After all, today’s Rasmussen poll says that 27% of the American people believe in ghosts (up from 23% last year). Perhaps the perpetrators of Devil’s Night want to stay on the good side of these ghosts.

Little Al on October 31, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I first heard of Devil’s night when my family moved to suburban Detroit over 40 years ago. Back then, at least in the ‘burbs, it involved putting TP on peoples’ trees and other minor acts of vandalism. I wasn’t really up on the “doings in Detroit” but I’m not surprised after the riots in the late 60’s that the residents in the downtown area decided that fire was the way to go.

We left the Detroit area in the early 70’s. I have lived a lot of places since then, and Detroit is the ONLY area that practices “Devil’s Night,” or whatever the media decide they want to call it.

DG in GA on October 31, 2010 at 1:10 pm

You are one of my favorites Debbie. You have a lot of mental toughness to live in the State of Michigan. I compare Detroit and Dearbornistan to Evansville, IN. All 3 are real shit holes with no hope of getting out. Michael Savage is right: Liberalism and Islam are a mental disease and disorder that need to be cured.

Patrick on October 31, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I think the TV series Detroit 1-8-7 predicted about 300.

John A on October 31, 2010 at 3:14 pm

After the city is burned down, Detroit will expect federal money to rebuild the city. That’s what happened here in DC.

In 1968, the riots began even before Martin Luther King’s body was cold. Black rioters targeted White, and in particular, Jewish businesses, the same businesses that gave them jobs and credit. Hundreds of businesses were destroyed, the owners wiped out. At one point after the riots, the city threatened to fine the storeowners for not cleaning up the burned out buildings (Krystallnacht, anyone?) Insurance refused to pay for damages.

30 years later, the Federal government picks up the tab to rebuild the areas that were destroyed by the local people. Indeed, the riots were treated as if they were a natural disaster, like a hurricane. Quite frankly, the stores should have remained in ruins, with no repairs or revitalization. If people are going to act like animals, let them live like animals. The government should have compensated the store owners, and LBJ and the then Mayor of DC, Walter Washington, ordered the National Guard and local police not to stop looters or rioters. The Guard was there for decoration.

Jgrant on October 31, 2010 at 6:02 pm

I believe I heard a siren once last night. That’s it, once. That’s why I live in the burbs.

samurai on October 31, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Detroit is a cultured, historic and tough town that was destroyed by the selfish baby-boomer population (and “consumer reports” magazine funded by Japanese government to be a catalyst for its dump, slash and burn desecration) and fat-cat baby-boomer “capitalists” who bought their Toyotas and Hondas and funded their bloated 401k plans to pay for trips to “Thailand” in their retirement. Enjoy your “new world uptopian” nightmare, you putrid pigs.

united states of sharia on November 1, 2010 at 1:18 am

Someone mentions Detroit 187, with Michael Imperiole of Sopranos’ fame. Cop shows distort what policing achieves. Cops don’t work at solving crime; they “clear” complaints. And how many on average? US wide, the average Detective will secure the incarceration of 1-2 major crime culprits per year. Street cops produce 1 arrest every 10 days.

Watch this 3 part youtube series and you will lose what little deference to authority that you hold.


Ropeadope on November 1, 2010 at 7:35 am

If there were a likely hood of a nuclear war between Russia and the US, Detroit would probably be one of the safest places to survive the first strikes. An enemy of the US with any sense would quickly figure out that the best way to cripple the US would be to target productive areas of the country and leave places like Detroit, Flint and Pontiac un touched.

RT on November 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I am a former resident of Detroit. As far as I am concerned the current residents can continue to cornhole each other until the spooge comes gushing out of their noses.

Heathen Jabber on November 3, 2010 at 3:24 pm

From NYC worked as a teacher in Hells Kitchen and Harlem as a teacher, it was interesting, sometimes I thought Nam would be safer. Motown or as I call “Brotown” it bedcause of its prevalent and blatant racism Kwami (same in Harlem and Baby D,or Pontiac).. I read the book “Halloween” great book by the way though Young hated it of course. I especially liked the description of the party store doberman “Satan” that was kept in the basement to scare the crap out of five finger discounters.
I have been looking for that shirt with the hostage dog by the way, I love it! Where can I get them?

Ron Wolf on January 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm

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