Sources: No days off for Detroit firefighters on Angels' Night - KMSP-TV

Sources: No days off for Detroit firefighters on Angels' Night

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By Roop Raj
FOX 2 News Reporter


DETROIT -- In less than three weeks, Angels' Night volunteers will begin patrolling Detroit.  Firefighters will also be armed and ready with hoses, but the challenge this year is getting enough firefighters on the streets.

"We're not even ready for today, let alone Angels' Night," said Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association.

He is frustrated, so much so he says they have a saying in the department in the last few weeks -- when seconds count, we're minutes away.

City officials held a news conference Tuesday talking about preparations for Angels' Night.  They touted a 55 percent reduction in fires last year during the campaign.

"Our goal in the fire department is do all we can to keep the city off of the national news with negative coverage about structures burning in the city," said Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin.

The first fiery pre-Halloween day now known as Angels' Night was back in 1982.  McNamara was there.  He says there is one thing that day has in common and modern day -- a bad economy.

On a regular night there should be 160 firefighters on the streets, but with layoffs and retirements, sources tell us all hands will have to be on deck.  No days off for Angels' Night.  It's a tight ship that McNamara says puts people at risk.

"We have 30 people off, layoff.  We've had 70 firefighters retire since January.  They've just permanently closed 15 fire companies," he said.

Multiple fire stations shuttered during a hit and fiery summer.  Firefighters battling their own staffing issues calling on all angels to watch out for their neighbors.

In the meantime, McNamara is leading the charge with legal action against city and state officials.  Subpoenas will be going out soon.

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