Just in time for Devils’ Night, Detroit gets new fire engines

The first of six new Smeal engines is pictured here. Photos by Steve Neavling.
The first of six new Smeal engines is pictured here. Photos by Steve Neavling.

The Detroit Fire Department will have three new fire engines on the road by Devils’ Night this weekend, and another three are expected to arrive soon after.

The fire department also will add four older rigs to its regular fleet on Devils’ Night, the notorious period of arsons.

The six new Smeal engines will replace aging rigs that have been prone to mechanical problems. Last year, the city received 10 new Smeal engines as part of a municipal bankruptcy loan.

The city also is expected to being getting new ladder trucks, platforms, squads, ambulances and arson vehicles next year. For more than a decade, Detroit firefighters have relied on a neglected, unreliable fleet because of budget woes and a lower priority placed on public safety.

The first companies to receive the new engines are #9, #17 and #32.

Devils’ Night fires have been decreasing for years and last year reached the lowest number since at least the 1970s.

Here are photos of the first new Smeal engine to arrive this month.

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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.