Tens of thousands of pages of records are scattered across a shuttered Detroit fire station that is open to trespass and has been rampaged by thieves.
The city of Detroit has neglected Engine 49’s quarters, which was closed during a painful round of budget cuts in 2012, and left behind investigative records, log books dating back to the 1960s and completed applications for concealed weapons permits, which include personal information about people with guns. Also included are confidential records that contain the home addresses, phone numbers and other information of firefighters.
Thieves stole copper plumbing, wiring, fixtures and pipes. Walls are torn up, and windows are smashed and the frames stolen.
Executive Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins told me the city will immediately address the issue and check other closed fire stations. The responsibility of protecting city buildings belongs to the Detroit General Services Department (GSD).
“The DFD will identify all decommissioned stations and they (GSD) will ensue they are secured,” Jenkins said. “We will also work with GSD to gather any documents left in these structures and properly dispose of them.”
Engine 49, which is at 12515 Grand River, is among seven fire stations that the city was hoping to sell earlier this year.
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.