Detroit reveals plan to fix Fire Department, but is it enough?

Detroit is about to get new firefighters. Steve Neavling/MCM
Detroit is about to get new firefighters. Steve Neavling/MCM

Long-awaited help is on the way for the beleaguered Detroit Fire Department.

Beginning this month, about 80 new firefighters will join the thinning ranks. The city plans to begin reopening six companies – Engine 32, Ladder 13, Ladder 14, Ladder 19, Ladder 21 and Ladder 30 – by late this year. And in July, the city expects to get 10 new engines. zovirax over the counter

“Having new young firefighters is a great boost to the morale of the department,” Commissioner Edsel Jenkins told us. “A number of these young firefighters are EMT or paramedic certified, which is also a great benefit.” buy Lasix over the counter

The new firefighters graduate today from the 22-week academy.

The addition of firefighters and rigs couldn’t come soon enough. The aging and long-neglected ladder trucks and fire engines are malfunctioning at alarming rates, causing fires to burn longer and cause more damage. Firefighters also are traveling farther to get to fires because of station closures.

The new hires will bring the total number of firefighters to about 875, which is still a far cry from the 1,104 firefighters in 2010 and 1,900 in the 1960s. But it is a good start. buy levaquin over the counter

“Prior to the two classes hired last year in April and May 2014, the average age of a Detroit firefighter was 46,” Jenkins said. “The addition of these new firefighters with strong backs will help to reduce injuries and overtime costs.”

Jenkins said he expects to reopen five ladder companies and an engine company between late this year and early next year. The city currently operates with 43 rigs, down from 66 in 2oo6.

Alarmed by the extent of problems in the Fire Department, Mayor Duggan has increased the department’s budget from $108 million to $143 million this fiscal year and met privately with demoralized firefighters recently to hear their concerns.

Firefighters described that meeting as positive and said the mayor seemed sincerely committed to improving the department.

Detroit has one of the busiest fire departments in the country and continues to lead the nation in arsons. The fires are devouring neighborhoods, claiming lives and contributing to the decline in population.

Motor City Muckraker is covering every fire in Detroit this year as part of a yearlong examination of the struggling department.

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.

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