If it’s not bad enough that Detroit can’t afford to equip its firefighters with adequate gear, brazen thieves Wednesday night stole a ladder and other equipment from fire trucks at the scene of a three-house blaze.
The theft marks another troubling moment for a fire department battling more blazes with fewer firefighters, trucks and gear.
In the past month, thieves have broken into at least two temporarily closed fire stations and stole copper plumbing, TVs and other metal fixtures. Fire hydrants have been broken.
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Wednesday’s theft at Chopin and Michigan on the city’s west-side was as desperate and callous as it was bold.
Cuts to the police department and an increase in some crimes are making it more difficult for cops to arrive to fire scenes, leaving firefighters without protection.
And when firefighters are injured, ambulances often aren’t available. Just last week, one of four firefighters injured during a house explosion was taken to a hospital in a squad truck because an ambulance was broken down.
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.