DETROIT (WJBK) - On October 26, a call went out for a house fire on Detroit's west side. The scanner call went: "Use extreme caution; the interior of the building might be collapsed. Code 1 box alarm Brammel between Puritan and Florence."
Nineteen days later, on Wednesday, inside of the badly burned home, the body of Michael Dwyer was found. He is the 55-year-old son of Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer. Court records show a history of drug issues. The cause of his death is under investigation.
Why did it take almost three weeks to find the man's body? The answer depends on who you ask.
"We don't have the numbers we need, or the training we need to do our job properly. We are understaffed and undermanned and it's ridiculous," said Michael Nevin, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Union.
"This was not a manpower issues this was a structural issue; this was a firefighter safety issue," said Eric Jones, Detroit Fire commissioner.
Both the Detroit Fire Fighters Association president and the Detroit fire commissioner agree: it was too dangerous to search the home.
"There was absolutely no way to enter to even walk to do a search of the interior of the building," said Jones.
But Nevin says if the firefighters had the tools they need, they could have done a more thorough job at this scene and all of them.
"Bottom line is that, we don't have enough resources and/or training and/or equipment to mitigate these situations properly," he said.
It wasn't until Southfield Police started looking into a missing persons case involving the burned home off Brammel that led to the discovery of Michael Dwyer Wednesday.
In Detroit, if a burned structure isn't safe to search, then what? Jones says they do everything possible to make sure victims are accounted for.
"The arson investigators interview neighbors," Jones said. "They do a canvass, they use equipment to search in flashlights to do their very best."
Nevin says they are not equipped to do more.
"Everyone is trying to rob Peter to pay Paul," Nevin said. "A city is not going to survive without proper public safety and the proper numbers."
This is the second time something like this happened in Detroit this year. Back in March, a man presumed missing with mental issues was pulled from a burned home that was cleared by firefighters four days earlier. A family member found his body in the rubble with flashlight.