Detroit Fire Department memo: Aerial ladders are unsafe for use - KMSP-TV

Detroit Fire Department memo: Aerial ladders are unsafe for use

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Video Report by Charlie LeDuff

DETROIT (WJBK) -- Nine months ago Fox 2's Charlie LeDuff used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get the Detroit Fire Department to release all the inspection reports on its rigs and ambulances.

LeDuff says the DFD blew him off.

Two weeks ago LeDuff reported that DFD big bucket aerial platforms trucks were broken in midtown and therefore could not get people out of a skyscraper.

Now Charlie's request for information from several months ago has resurfaced and it turns out that none of the ladders have been inspected and firefighters are no longer allowed to use them.

Fox 2 has obtained an internal DFD memo that reads in part: It has come to the administration's attention that we are out of compliance with the National Fire Protection Agency 9-14, requiring annual and 5-year testing requirements. Therefore, effective immediately, there will be no manned ladder master stream operations.  Additionally, unless there is an immediate threat to life of public or fire fighter, the aerial ladder shall not have firefighters on it.

LeDuff says this means if you're on the second floor of a building and it's on fire, the department has no ladder to get you out.

Play the video to get the full report from LeDuff, including reaction from a DFD Captain Joe English, who says he is not going to risk a firefighter's safety by placing him on a ladder that the NFPA says has a structural compliance issue.

And play the video to hear from Detroit resident Harold Wheeler, who has come to the realization that firefighters may not be able to get to a third floor of a school or beyond the second floor of a building filled with senior citizens, let alone a place like the Renaissance Center.

LeDuff wonders: 11-years after 9-11, where did all the money go for fire safety?

For now City Hall and the DFD brass are ignoring Charlie because they say he is "mocking them."

Charlie for his part says he will make a deal with the DFD Commissioner, that he if starts doing his job to get the public protected, then Charlie will stop mocking him.

 

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