DETROIT – The Detroit Firefighters Union is blasting Detroit police, questioning why it took police more than 20 minutes to respond to the scene of a murder.
It happened Saturday at a home on Epworth Street on the city's west side. The first calls for help came in at 1:40 a.m. but police didn't get there until repeated calls for help were sent out.
A woman contacted 911, screaming unintelligibly for help. The dispatcher, uncertain what was going on, sent a fire crew without police.
That breakdown in communication sent firefighters into danger and the Firefighter's Union President, Mike Nevin, believes his members' lives are in danger regularly.
"Code one medical call West Warren and Junction report of one bleeding, unknown what happened," is heard over Detroit Fire dispatch audio.
"When they turned the corner, they rolled right into an active homicide," Nevin said. "Our members were hiding behind the wheel wells, hiding behind the engine block because a van circled around the block. By the grace of God they weren't lit up in this incident."
They had asked police dispatch for an estimated arrival time for officers and several voluntary calls went out to the three cars in the area at the time, according to officials.
Assistant Detroit police chief David Lavalley does not share Nevin's concern about the incident.
"It sounds like as soon as they notified dispatch that there was a person shot at the location dispatchers notified police and a police car dispatched to the scene and was at the scene within a few minutes," he said.
The first scout car showed up about six minutes later and there's a dispute over when homicide detectives showed up. Nevin said they arrived about four and a half hours later. Detroit police said it was faster than that with detectives responding from home after getting called in.