More than 3 dozen fires burn in Detroit on Angels' Night, keep crews busy

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The rain didn't stop at least a dozen homes from catching fire in Detroit last night.  This Halloween eve proved to be a busy one for Detroit Firefighters.

They would find themselves standing in the glow of more than 3 dozen fires.  The orange hue cast a light in the night sky.  As the heat radiated from afar, at many of the fire calls firefighters could be seen standing around, waiting for the fire to go out.

"It comes with the territory," Battalion Chief Andre Johnson said.  While there is no official word from the Detroit Fire Department as to how many calls they responded to, sources tell 7 Action News the number was above 40 calls.  Typically the department responds to 20-30 calls on average.

"We've been up pretty much all night but we have those nights all the time," the Chief explained.  "Sometimes we have no runs, sometimes we have a lot, like we did last night. You know, steady."

On the night before Halloween their work never stopped.  A fire on Detroit's west side sent embers flying hundreds of feet in the air.  The fire was at a vacant house off Wetherby and Warren streets.  All firefighters here could do was pour water on it and watch it burn.

Chief Johnson says no one side of the city suffered anymore than the other, "It was equal opportunity, we were all over," the Chief said.

Multiple houses were showing damage from the fire near Wetherby and Warren.

Police suspect there was an arsonist in one area as many of the homes they were responding to were within blocks of one another.  Battalion Chief Johnson wouldn't confirm the fires were arson, only going as far as calling the fires suspicious.

And while being prepared to fight fires is half the battle, Chief Johnson says the other half of the equation is staffing.

"It doesn't have to be Halloween.  We have these same kind of nights.  We just wish we had the manpower that we had during this period all the time," the Chief said.

The Chief said with the city browning out squads, it leaves them with fewer resources to protect the people of metro Detroit.

We're told all of the homes were vacant.

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