Detroit's top fire official, Don Austin, is resigning in wake of botched fire crisis. Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin, who botched the hiring of new firefighters, regularly conceals the severity of the fire crisis and oversaw drastic budget reductions, is resigning at the end of the year, city officials said today.
Residents began calling for Austin’s resignation this summer, saying he’s responsible for an increase in the number of fires that are decimating neighborhoods, jacking up home insurance rates and claiming lives. Since Austin took the helm in May 2011, firefighters’ wages were cut 10%, arsons were drastically underreported and seven fire stations were permanently closed as part of a $24-million reduction in the department’s budget. Most of those stations have since been broken into and stripped over scrap metal.
Austin’s resignation wasn’t optional, city sources told us. Fire trucks continue to break down at unprecedented rates, and repairs are woefully slow. A must read from Detroit. The state of the fire department's infrastructure. A trail that shows money allocated & spent, but facilities not fixed. - Statter911. Read & watch the March, 2009 story of firefighters taking storm door (mentioned in LeDuff’s article)Read more about reporter Charlie LeDuff By Charlie LeDuff, The Detroit News (Pictures by Max Ortiz): Why is Detroit broke? Why are its books an unmitigated disaster? Why do things never seem to change no matter who occupies City Hall?
Maybe something as simple as a screen door might explain it. Three firefighters were caught last year scavenging a screen door from an abandoned house. The men were caught on video tape and disciplined. I took a trip to the Detroit Building Authority, which oversees city construction projects and dispenses city monies to pay for them. Then I went to the firehouses and listened to the complaints of the people who do the real work of putting out fires.
A meeting with fire officials was arranged. “What specific questions do you have?” “I don’t know what to tell you,” said Graham, whose name appears on the paperwork. “I’ll look into it,” Mack promised. Detroit mayor defends Fire Dept. response to fires that engulfed 85 houses. DETROIT — Mayor Dave Bing of Detroit defended a stretched Fire Department yesterday and its response to what he termed a natural disaster, after wind-whipped flames destroyed dozens of occupied and abandoned houses across the city.
Bing said firefighters confronted conditions that were not manmade starting Tuesday afternoon. Wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour forced flames to jump from house to house, eventually encompassing 85 houses and garages — many abandoned — across several neighborhoods. No injuries were reported. When pressed on whether the Fire Department was adequately staffed, Bing sidestepped the question and pointed out that no one was killed. “A natural disaster — [that’s] what this was,’’ he said at a news conference. Paralyzed Detroit firefighter to lose health benefits due to city bankruptcy. Published time: October 30, 2013 19:19 Members of the Detroit Fire Department (AFP Photo / Andrew Burton) The city of Detroit is facing a money crunch as its bankruptcy saga develops, but a severely injured local firefighter is seeing the tragedy unfold before his eyes now that he’s been told his medical coverage is coming to an end.
Back in 2010, firefighter Brendan Milewski suffered a serious injury when, on his first shift, a building collapsed and he was struck by a chunk of limestone “the size of a parking block.” He’s now a T6 paraplegic, and has relied on the city’s medical coverage to get by for the last three years. Just recently, Milewski received a letter stating that his coverage would end at the start of 2014, and that he has until December 15 to find a new insurance plan. "It's a complete loss of identity for me, to be in this position now and not amongst my peers, and seen as weak and feeble and handicapped and disabled,” Milewski told the local Fox 2 News. Manpower Crisis In Detroit Fire Department: 40 Percent of Rigs Out of Service Today – Deadline Detroit.
The city's budget crisis landed suddenly on the Detroit Fire Department this week as officials took far more rigs out of service than ever before.
On paper, the city has had 66 rigs; about eight rigs are usually "browned out" on any given day for budget reasons, leaving around 58 fully staffed fire vehicles, or "companies," stationed across Detroit. On Thursday, the department de-activated 25 rigs, leaving only 41 vehicles to respond to calls across the 139-square-mile city, which has one of the busiest fire departments in the nation. On Friday, officials sidelined 21 rigs, plus the HazMat unit. On Wednesday, 18 rigs were shut down. The moves endanger both residents and fire fighters alike, critics charge. "I never thought the city would allow this to happen," said Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association. These de-activations are not the permanent closings that are coming under the new budgetary reality in Detroit city government. Budget Cutting Strips Abandoned Detroit of Police and Fire Services. 25 Facts About The Fall Of Detroit That Will Leave You Shaking Your Head.
By Michael Snyder, on July 20th, 2013 It is so sad to watch one of America’s greatest cities die a horrible death.
Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was a teeming metropolis of 1.8 million people and it had the highest per capita income in the United States. Now it is a rotting, decaying hellhole of about 700,000 people that the rest of the world makes jokes about. On Thursday, we learned that the decision had been made for the city of Detroit to formally file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. It was going to be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States by far, but on Friday it was stopped at least temporarily by an Ingham County judge. 1) At this point, the city of Detroit owes money to more than 100,000 creditors. 2) Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.