Departmental Charges for Firefighters in Detroit Photo

Firefighters and sergeants charged in relation to social media use

Photo shows Detroit firefighters posing in front of a house that’s engulfed in flames. (WDIV)

Kayla Clarke and Derick Hutchinson, WDIV, with permission

DETROIT (WDIV) – The Detroit firefighters who posed for a picture in front of a burning house are facing departmental charges, officials said.

All the firefighters involved have been charged with exhibiting ignorance of the rules or orders. The charge is in relation to social media use, Local 4 has learned.

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Four sergeants have also been charged with failure to properly supervise or take the appropriate action, officials told Local 4.

The controversy surrounds a photo showing Detroit firefighters posing in front of a house that was engulfed in flames.

The home was vacant. Local 4 has been told the picture was supposed to be a sentimental moment for Battalion Chief Gary Fisher, who was retiring.

The photo was believed to have been taken on the night of Dec. 31.

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“This momentary lapse in judgment brought great embarrassment to our department and our great city,” Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said.

Jones said that all involved would be held accountable, with supervisors and above receiving a “greater degree of disciplinary accountability.”

Read the full statement from Jones 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.”

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