Detroit firefighters on informational picket

Firefighters worried about safety conditions as bankruptcy process begins in Detroit

By Shawn Ley - Reporter


Shortly after Detroit filed for bankruptcy, Detroit's emergency manager went on the record saying that for regular people living and working in the city, nothing will change.

But some of the city's firefighters say that's not the case and no matter how you look at the numbers, this bankruptcy is about people.

Safety conditions for the public and for firefighters are so bad, Detroit firefighters say they could strike, but they won't.

Dennis Hunter is a 14 year veteran with the Detroit Fire Department. He and other off duty firefighters are picking up picket signs Monday as part of an informational picket.

"Our main goal today is to inform the public of safety issues that affect them," said Hunter. "We're out here to inform the public that firehouses are closing down and your insurance rates are going up."

Firefighters say their pension is not in danger and it's nearly fully funded. Hunter says as the department is cut, public safety continues to be reduced.

"In 83' we had 70 companies, 1,800 firemen and around 30 deaths average. Today we have 42 companies, 830 firemen which is less than half of what we had, around average 79 deaths. We have 185 duty related injuries," said Hunter. "We care too much to strike it would be devastating."

Hunter says the bankruptcy weighs heavy at his home.

"Right now my wife is worried about the future, about the pension because I've dedicated so much of my time and life to this job," he said. "The average fire department may have 1, 2 house fires a year, we have 30 to 40 a day."

Firefighters will be holding their information campaign all week.

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