Highland Park firefighters saved four people from a burning house late Tuesday night but lost control of the fire and couldn’t get help from the neighboring Detroit Fire Department.
The overmatched firefighters were called to the 300 block of Tuxedo and pulled four people from a two-story brick house at 11:23 p.m. Although the two cities have a mutual aid agreement, Highland Park was unable to get help as the blaze spread to two more homes.
Fire officials from both sides said it’s very rare for mutual aid to be denied.
It’s uncertain why Highland Park’s request for manpower was rejected in this case, but the Detroit Fire Department was having a busy night and remains understaffed. The dispatcher told a Highland Park chief that extra personnel wasn’t available.
At the time, Detroit firefighters were battling three separate blazes, including a second-alarm fire at a 20-story apartment high-rise on the east side and a three-story apartment fire at Rosa Parks near I-75.
We are awaiting a call back from Mayor Mike Duggan’s Office or the Fire Department.
Mutual aid is critical to cities in the event of a breakout of fires.
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.