Detroit fire safety hazard report brings action, truck problems persist

Sometimes when it comes to the Detroit Fire Department it seems if it's not one thing it's another.

Since Taryn Asher's story about all of the problems in Engine 5, a lot has changed - bringing action and retribution.

For example, the person who reported it to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will have to move.

What happens when you take your complaints to the state about the problems at the Detroit Fire Department?

Apparently you get punished.

In a previous report FOX 2 showed all the issues at Engine 5 at Cass and Alexandrine. The station had no working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, sprinkler system, doors and exhaust system.

All of it were issues firefighters had tried to get fixed for months.

As soon as the sergeant reported it to the state and FOX 2 got involved, the city moved in to correct the problems - and moved the whistle blower out. 

This is the order per the chief of the department - upset the sergeant didn't follow the chain of command and permanently moved him until further notice.

The building is in the process of being repaired, but the city forgot one key thing. The Ladder 20 truck that FOX 2 discovered hasn't worked for months, no working aerial and no water.

Downtown Detroit's main ladder truck, basically a box of tools on wheels.

FOX 2: "From what I understand, the company's come in and tested them like they do, and they are all to be taken out of service. All, maybe but two?"

"Well, that's why we are going through the process of getting them serviced and inspected," said Michael Cotton, Detroit Fire Apparatus Division. "It's a procedure you have to go through."

The city is hustling to make that happen. 

Pictures of a ladder truck towed on flat on flat bed likely here to the apparatus division where they are in line to be fixed. Fixed by R And R,  a private vendor hired by the city and then inspected by Underwriters Laboratories - an MIOSHA-approved safety certification company out of Illinois.

But there is concern by many inside the department who already fear for their safety. These old trucks won't pass inspection, leaving even fewer on the streets to service Detroit residents.

FOX 2: "Right now would any of these clear? 

"Some of them probably will," Cotton said. 

FOX 2: "Is there a concern, should there be a concern that all of these ladder trucks aren't going to be available in the city?"

"We have a bunch out there right now that are certified," Cotton said. "Nine are working right now."

But what about the rest? A city spokesperson says Detroit's 14 ladder trucks are being rotating in and out for repair and eventually certification.

As previously reported - there are 10 new engines on order expected to be here by July. But no new ladder trucks which if ordered today, would take a year to arrive.

FOX 2: "There seems to be a lot in (the apparatus division).

"Yeah there is a lot in here," Cotton said. "We are not suppose to talk to the media."

The sergeant who reported problems in Engine 5, the city says there is also a pending personnel matter, which may be motivating decision when it came to moving him.

The city can't comment at this time.

The city claims the first new rigs is expected to be on the streets by June 22, four more by the end of July, five by the end of August. 

John Roach, a spokesperson for the mayor's office, said that nine more will be ordered after the start of the fiscal year on July 1.
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