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‘Let Them Burn’ New Approach Considered By Detroit Fire Commissioner

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Budget cuts considered in Detroit. (WWJ: Florence Walton)

Budget cuts considered in Detroit. (WWJ: Florence Walton)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit’s Fire Commissioner is considering a controversial approach to fighting fires in vacant buildings … let them burn if they are more than 50-percent ablaze.

Executive Fire Commissioner Donald Austin is coming up with proposals to cut cost now that he is faced with $23 million budget cut.

And Council President Charles Pugh says that might not be a bad idea … if the fire can be contained and not spread to adjacent structures.

“I would like to see a full discussion here at the council table about that and how they are going to manage this … his point is; let’s not have people getting hurt or die fighting a fire in an abandoned sturcture – that makes sense,” said Pugh.

“I don’t know that it’s not effective, I’m sure that the commissioner has years, decades of experience and would not do anything that would put citizens or his personel in harms way. And if there is a way to manage it so that it doesn’t spead to occupied dwellings,” Pugh said.

Between 40 and 60 percent of Detroit fires are in vacant buildings. A few years ago a fire fighter was killed fighting a fire in a vacant home on the city’s east side.

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