Are Detroit Firefighters Underequipped To Fight Arson?
DETROIT (WWJ) – There were mixed messages circulating Friday as to whether or not Detroit firefighters are ready for a weekend some expect to be riddled with arson.
Firefighters at one eastside firehouse told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas a vehicle shortage has them under-equipped ahead of Angel’s Night/Halloween
weekend, during which the number of fires in the city have been known to skyrocket.
In a typical 24-hour period in Detroit, 20 to 30 fires are reported, but the night before Halloween sees a dramatic rise. Last year, 169 fires were reported; 119 the year before
“It depends on the person you listen to — the firefighters or management insiders as to whether or not the city is ready to roll,” reported Thomas.
Thomas heard from employees of one firehouse that they’ve been using a back up rig that has broken down several times this week.
Meantime, department management is telling WWJ they are confident.
“Now, some insiders on the managment side tell me they’ve done a fabulous job getting all the front line vehicle out on the road. They are confident that they have enough vehicles,” Thomas said.
Firefighters are expected to patrol city neighborhoods in the rigs that do work with their lights flashing to supplement Angels’ Night volunteers this weekend.
“Angels’ Night” is a Detroit tradition aimed at curtailing the violence and arson that plagued the city for years on the night before Halloween by enacting citizen patrols on the city streets, on the night previously known as “Devils’ Night.”
Speaking with WWJ earlier this week, Executive Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said they’re getting some extra help this year to bring fires under control more quickly. (More on this, here).
As a reminder to parents, an emergency curfew will be in effect for youth ages 17 and under from 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 to 6 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 and from 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 to 6 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31. (More details).