75 buses saved by firefighters, D-DOT employees during massive blaze

- The fire broke out at a Detroit Department of Transportation terminal last week putting a fleet of buses at risk.

Thanks to the quick thinking and bravery by D-DOT employees and firefighters, dozens of vehicles were saved. Some employees hopped in the buses and drove them away from the fire. Now the city is honoring their efforts.

It was 1:30 a.m. on a frigid Friday. When the first flames are seen on the Detroit department of transportation cameras at the Detroit bus terminal.
As the fire grows, more than 80 buses are at risk.

"It would have crippled the service for a year or two," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Firefighters arrive on scene and get to work, putting water on the flames. Then something remarkable happens - the D-dot employees start driving the fleet out of harm’s way.

"The other engines turned the water on the buses to wet them down as they drove them out," Duggan said.

Seventy-five buses in total saved by a team effort.

"That is a third of our fleet, we could have lost the busses in the city of Detroit," Duggan said.

"It was an intense situation but we remained calm," said Dale Bates, Ddot employee.

Meanwhile the fire raged on. Firefighters battled the blaze for 20 hours, the garage collapses but only seven buses were lost.

In the midst of the chaos, city workers know there is still a job to do so they did it.

"They pulled out a full schedule," Duggan said. "That's hard. When I got here we weren't doing that on a sunny day."

Despite the smoky smell everyone who needed a ride that morning got one.

"I got on the bus and had no clue," said Mike Nevin, president of the Detroit Firefighters Association. "Maybe later in the day, maybe they still don't know that's the beauty of what happened here."

All their efforts were recognized by the mayor.  As for what started the fire on Friday.

Investigators say it was likely an electrical issue in an engine. The seven damaged buses were set to be replaced in the spring.

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