Detroit paramedics slow to respond to deadly fire; injured child waits 45 minutes for ambulance

Fire Department truck logoDetroit paramedics took about 25 minutes to respond to two separate house fires that left one man dead and at least four injured early this morning.

In one fire on the east side, there children were injured when a fire broke out in their Westphalia home. One of the children waited 45 minutes for paramedics to arrive, dispatch records show. The children’s conditions were unknown this morning.

The national average response time for EMS is about 12 minutes.

The fires broke out around 2:20 a.m., and EMS was immediately alerted to people trapped inside the houses.

“We need EMS ASAP,” Chief 9 told the dispatcher after waiting at the Westphalia scene for 15 minutes.

Chief 8 chimed in: “I need a transport and I need one ASAP.”

The west-side fire on the 19000 block of Steel killed one man and injured two others.

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Steve Neavling, who lives on the city’s east side, is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Neavling explores corruption, Detroit’s unsung heroes and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

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.