Four Detroit fighters were injured tonight when a home exploded on the east side, and an ambulance broke down at the scene, forcing one of the victims to be rushed to the hospital in a patrol truck, witness and fire officials said.
The east-side explosion, which reduced the home to toothpicks at Lemonte and McNichols, was in the same area where a rash of arsons over the past two days have overwhelmed the cash-strapped fire department.
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Recently, firefighters received 10% pay cuts and deep benefit reductions, even as they battling more fires with less equipment and fewer stations and rigs.
The extent of the firefighters’ injuries was unclear tonight, and it wasn’t known whether the house was abandoned or occupied.
The Firefighters were burned when a fire that had consumed the rear of the house exploded.
It’s the sad, new reality for fighters and police who are taking unprecedented cuts in wages, personnel and equipment under a consent agreement in which the state is forcing painful reductions to reverse spiraling budget problems.
The timing couldn’t be worse. The city’s already abominable murder rate is on the rise: 261 people killed so far this year.
The toll of the forced reductions won’t be known for some time, but one thing is clear: The cuts are only going to get worse and more painful for those of us still holding on for a better future.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.