Fires Burn Longer In Detroit

A look at who is setting fires in Detroit.

Map courtesy Motor City Muckraker

A report from the Motor City Muckraker shows more than 150 structure fires in Detroit last month. That number is down for the average monthly rate, but broken rigs and hydrants contributed to longer burn times. Five people died in February from fire, and many more were injured.

From Motor City Muckraker:

According to dispatch reports, 15 rigs broke down on the way to fires or at the scene. And firefighters were stymied by at least 16 broken hydrants.

At least five people were killed, and more than a dozen civilians and firefighters were injured.

Fires broke out in 134 houses, 13 apartment buildings, 15 commercial buildings and one camper. This does not include the dozens of fires in garages, cars and garbage bins.

Of the 163 structure fires, 74 were suspicious or caused by arson.

“You’re seeing neighborhood cores that are being burned out,” says Steve Neavling, publisher of Motor City Muckraker. Neavling says structure fires prevent neighborhoods from being revitalized. He says some blocks have multiple broken fire hydrants, making it difficult for firefighters to stretch hoses the distance they would need to reach some buildings in the area. 

“This is a problem Detroit could have prevented,” he says, siting new rigs bought by the city in years past that also went neglected. Neavling says there has been a chronic “disinvestment” in the fire department, but that the current administration recognizes the significance of the problem.

WDET has reached out to the city and will update with reaction as soon as it’s available.