Detroit Fire reaches milestone of best response times in years, faster than US average

The Detroit Fire Department is celebrating an impressive milestone. Not only are fires in the City down - and so are response times, beating the national average.

Engine 30 on Detroit’s west side, is on Meyers near Puritan - and it is one of the busiest fire stations in the city.

Firefighter Solomon Israel grew up nearby - and the work, he says, is personal.

"Not even five minutes from here," Israel said. "You hear the addresses, you know the friends and family you grew up with. It resonates with me a little more."

"When that light goes, and that light goes, we just go," said DFD Lt. William Byrd.

Byrd is a 25-year veteran of the Detroit Fire department - and all of it in the same area in which he grew up in.

FOX 2: "Is that hard to do, to save the life of someone you know, who you may have grown up with?"

"I actually had a run like that, where I knew the person," he said. "And it was an accident."

FOX 2: "You helped save her life?"

"She made it," Byrd said. "Yeah, she made it."

DFD Lt. William Byrd.

DFD Lt. William Byrd.

DFD Commissioner Charles Simms spoke about the response time.

"We have a response time for Code One emergencies of seven minutes and 30 seconds, which is the best it’s ever been since the implementation of EMS," he said.

And that’s why Detroiters are hearing more sirens. Code 1 medical runs are up 70 percent since 2016, while all fire runs are down 40 percent.

"Right when you guys pulled up, you saw Engine 30 leave for a medical run," Simms said.

There is a national trend of higher medical runs than fire runs, and in general, people are in need of more medical treatment.

"We have EMTs coming on the job, we have paramedics that have been here for a long time," said Thomas Gerhart, president IFF Local 344. "I can’t say enough, I am so proud, I'm blessed to be the person representing all 1,300 of us."

And going back to those record-setting response times- maybe it’s more than just a need for medical treatment.

"We get the accidents, we get difficulty breathing, we get the unfortunate gunshots and stabbings," Israel said. "We get an array of things in the City of Detroit."

FOX 2: "You don’t want to move, you want to stay right here?"

"This is all I know, I'm going to stay right here," he said. "This is home. This is where I was born and raised."