Part of our yearlong investigation of the beleaguered Detroit Fire Department.
With a dangerous shortage of working rigs and firefighters, Detroit’s east side and downtown was without adequate fire protection Monday night as about 50 firefighters battled a second-alarm blaze inside an occupied apartment building at E. Canfield and St. Jean.
Making matters worse, two chiefs couldn’t respond because their trucks wouldn’t start when the second alarm was called at 10:47 p.m. About 11 minutes later, Chief 9 finally got his truck started.
The fire, which is under investigation, tore through the two-story brick building as residents fled, many waiting in a warming bus until they could find a place to stay. It wasn’t immediately clear whether there were any injuries.
— Detroit News Now (@detroitnewsnow) February 24, 2015
Dramatic budget cuts over the past five years have left the east side with half the number of fire companies and a frail fleet of poorly maintained rigs.
We are documenting every fire during a yearlong investigation of the beleaguered fire department, which has been neglected by city leaders for more than two decades. The results have been disastrous as neighborhood cores burn, residents move out and people die.
Follow us on Twitter for fire updates.
— tanya moutzalias (@tjm_tanya) February 24, 2015
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.