DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Firefighters Association is at odds with the Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin’s proposed changes and how the city will respond to fires.
WWJ’s Florence Walton reports Austin is looking for ways to cut overtime cost and stay within budget and is looking at the possibility of expanding the practice of browning out of fire companies within fire stations that began in 2005.
“Our budgeted amount for firefighter overtime in my firefighting division we budgeted $4,574,432 dollars a year to date we have spent $7,761,266 dollars,” said Austin.
“Meanwhile, in firefighting … a one room fire is going to become a one floor fire, a one floor fire will become protecting exposures and a possible loss of life – might be part of the new equation,” said union president Daniel McNamara:
“I am not, nor are the thousand select members of this department, going to put up with that or stand for it,” he said.
McNamara is also opposed to Austin’s plan to increase the number of companies that are closed on any given day. Austin is under pressure to cut overtime staff and stay within budget.
But, activist Edith Pane says closing companies within fire stations can have deadly consequences.
Pane says that because firefighters from company 47 were experiencing a brown out – and did not have the right ladder when they arrived at the Harris home, that a child and the child’s great-grandmother died in the fire.
Firefighters say browning out the stations will put lives and property at risk.