Detroit Conducting Audit of Detroit Fire Department After Two Firefighters Found Drinking and Driving on the Job

The investigation follows two incidents this week where members of the emergency service crashed their city-issued vehicle while intoxicated.

The city is investigating the Detroit Fire Department and re-emphasizing its zero-tolerance policy on working while under the influence of alcohol after two Detroit firefighters were found to have been drinking and driving on the job and crashing their department-issued vehicles. 

Criminal charges have not been filed and both firefighters, who have been suspended, are facing termination.  

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we don’t have repeated instances of these incidents.”  — Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones

Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones says police are conducting a criminal investigation into the two incidents — in one case a fire captain nearly crashed his city-issued vehicle onto the Lodge Freeway — while the fire department handles an internal probe. 

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we don’t have repeated instances of these incidents.” 

Jones says command staff will now return to working at stations as many had been working remotely through the pandemic. 

“They’re going to be accountable for checking the fire station to make sure that they’re not any intoxicants on site. They’re going to be held accountable for interacting with their members to make sure that they don’t notice any signs of impairment.” 

Mayor Mike Duggan says he and other city officials failed to address the pressure of the job as the department added responsibilities. 

“We should have dramatically ramped up our employee assistance program to help these very courageous individuals deal with the stress, deal with alcoholism, deal with whatever other issues,” he says.

Duggan says the Detroit Fire Department is responsible for 25,000 fire runs each year, and the service became responsible for an additional 15,000 medical runs.  

Tom Gehart is the president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association. He says union members are dealing with a lot of pressure on top of increased runs. 

“This COVID-19 has put a lot of stress on our members.” 

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  • Eli Newman
    Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.