Firefighters who took NYE photo in front of house fire 'will be held accountable' says DFD commissioner
DETROIT (FOX 2) - A picture posted on social media of Detroit firefighters posing in front of a burning, abandoned house to honor a retiring chief on New Year's Eve has been under fire.
But on Friday The Detroit Fire Department's investigation into the incident is complete, in a statement by Fire Commissioner Eric Jones.
He said, "For this poor judgment, all involved will be held accountable. Because this is a personnel matter, I cannot discuss details of the discipline. However, supervisors and above will receive a greater degree of disciplinary accountability."
He added that he was "satisfied that everyone involved has shown the appropriate level of regret for this inappopriate behavior."
The picture was taken Tuesday night in front of 611 South Green Street, an abandoned house in southwest Detroit. The photo, with firefighters in front of a fully engulfed home, was posted on the Facebook page Detroit Fire Incidents with the caption: "Crews take a moment to take a selfie on New Years!"
At the time of the fire, firefighters had been ordered into a defensive posture, Jones said, after finding the home unoccupied and once the structure was deemed unsafe. But Jones also questioned the wisdom of taking the photo, which as he wrote, "brought great embarrassment to our department and our great city."
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Jones' full statement is below:
"The investigation regarding the photo taken by firefighters at 611 South Green Street is complete. The investigation reveals that firefighters did enter the location to initiate fire suppression operations. However, due to concerns about structural integrity, the firefighters were ordered out to assume a defensive posture. During this transition from offensive operations to defensive operations, a suggestion was made to take a photo, with the retiring battalion chief, in front of the building.
"Detroit Firefighters risk their lives everyday entering burning buildings and performing dangerous technical rescues. Saving lives and saving property is our mission, and the men and women of DFD execute this mission without hesitation. I hold them in high esteem; we should all hold them in high esteem for their sacrifices.
"This momentary lapse in judgment brought great embarrassment to our department and our great city. For this poor judgment, all involved will be held accountable. Because this is a personnel matter, I cannot discuss details of the discipline. However, supervisors and above will receive a greater degree of disciplinary accountability. I am satisfied that everyone involved has shown the appropriate level of regret for this inappropriate behavior. The Detroit Fire Department will continue to provide excellent, rapid service to the citizens of Detroit."