DETROIT (WWJ) – The financially challenged City of Detroit paid out $85 million in overtime this year, with the police and fire departments taking up nearly half of the cost.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Florence Walton reports on the sobering conversation between the city’s Executive Fire Commissioner and City Council on ways to curb out of control overtime cost.

“Given the severe challenges the city has we need to begin a discussion about what fire protection and fire safety looks like; we can do a strong public education — smoke detectors in the home, being fire safe in the home,” said Detroit Executive Fire Commissioner Don Austin.

Austin wanted know if he would have City Council support if he decides to brown out 17 fire stations.

“Response times are going to increase, and your phones are going to start ringing – am I going to have the support of council? So we are talking about 59 down to 42,” said Austin.

A brownout would mean a station would close one day and open the next so on any given day Detroit would have 42 operating fire stations down from 59.

City Council says more discussion is needed before they can move forward.

Comments (3)
  1. Mike in Michigan says:

    This guy should have been fired on the spot for such a stupid idea. You are endangering the lives of every man, woman and child in the City of Detroit.
    So many of these homes, churches and businesses are old and will be inflamed in
    minutes and we know that in a fire situation minutes count.
    I cannot believe this was shelved for further conversation. The most important thing in life, is life itself.

  2. Kirk Ram says:

    Why couldn’t a volunteer fire service be implemented or used to supplement? Look at all the small towns and rural areas across the country that are made up completely of volunteers?

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