DETROIT -- UAW staff members have been moved to other facilities indefinitely after a fire broke out Saturday at the UAW's international headquarters on the eve of formal contract talks with the Detroit 3 automakers.
"All staff have been reassigned to temporary locations," UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg wrote in an emailed statement Tuesday. "Staff will be working out of regional and other UAW facilities."
He did not indicate when employees would return to the building on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit.
Rothenberg said the fire was on the third floor of the UAW's Solidarity House, which was "largely empty at the time." The fire was in the union's information technology department and also damaged adjacent public relations office space, he confirmed.
Patrick McNulty, chief of fire investigation for the Detroit Fire Department, on Monday told Automotive News the arson unit was called to the scene Saturday. McNulty said the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
"The handshake ceremonies and usual business will go on while the damage is assessed and any needed temporary workspace issues are worked out," Rothenberg said in an earlier email.
Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said a call about the fire came in around noon on Saturday.
He said two firefighters were injured at the scene, one with a broken wrist and the other suffering from smoke inhalation. Both were treated in the hospital and released, the deputy said.
Fornell said there was "a considerable amount of damage" caused to a storage area on the third floor of the building. Investigators plan to go back to the site Thursday.
The fire's cause is "undetermined at this time," Fornell said. "They think it's probably accidental but they're not sure."
A firefighter who was on the scene Saturday told Automotive News first responders were relieved after three hours.