Detroit firefighters: Firehouses not safe; complaint filed with MIOSHA

Detroit firefighters are putting out an SOS, claiming that the safety of their members is at risk and the city has been unresponsive.

Many say the fire houses are falling apart and full of safety violations. It's led one sergeant to file a report with Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

At Engine 5, smoke detectors don't work and there are no carbon monoxide detectors. The sprinkler system hasn't been checked since 1998 and even the fire alarm doesn't work. 

"It's kind of a joke actually," said Jeff Pegg, head of the Detroit firefighters union.

And the list goes on. At Engine 5 at Cass and Alexandrine, there are issues with the electrical system, the doors and the biggest issue right now, the Plymo-ventilation system.

All of the new ambulances don't fit the old ventilation system as the rigs weren't retro-fitted. Firefighters have complained to the city because they continue to breathe in diesel exhaust with the kitchen next door.

What did the administration say? Just open the doors.

"Well that doesn't protect us from exhaust fumes," Pegg said. "They go up and out, don't just go right out doors."

Pegg says the city knows and after multiple lawsuits with the fire trucks for the same issue, there is a court order.

"It doesn't matter how clean they are, they are still emitting Diesel exhaust," Pegg said. "If it's not connected to something to take those fumes out, you are being exposed on a daily basis you firefighters exposed ot toxic fumes on a daily basis."

The sergeant in charge of Engine 5, was sick of his complaints being ignored for months, filed a complaint with MIOSHA on Monday.

And as soon as FOX 2 got involved, Norris Louie, the Detroit fire maintenance supervisor who is in charge of making sure problems are fixed.

"They pointed out a lot of things that need to be addressed," he said.

FOX 2: "Why hasn't it been addressed before?"

 "I can't tell you why," Louie said. "For one, I didn't even know about it."

FOX 2: "What do you think about a fire house does not having working smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors?"

"Interestingly, this is one of the few have them period," Louie said. "I don't know if they work. They've never been tested."

"We already expose ourselves enough to what's going on, on a daily basis in the city putting out fires," Pegg said. "We don't need to come back to the firehouse which is like our home away from home and have to be exposed to toxic environment."

Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins told FOX 2 that there were no existing work orders when it came to the problems but the firefighters disagree.

The reason work on the ventilation system has taken so long, the city has not hired a vendor to fix it in the firehouses. It is expected to be fixed in the next couple weeks. 
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