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Detroit Fire Dept. investigating after 2 recent drunk driving incidents involving dept. members

Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 14:17:35-05

(WXYZ)  — Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said, for a second time this week, another one of their own has been placed on unpaid leave following an alcohol-related crash. In both cases, the employees face potential termination.

“These incidents are going to be dealt with. The driver was arrested last night,” said Jones.

Jones is speaking out about one of his captains serving as an acting chief at the time of an overnight single-vehicle crash at Milwaukee and the Lodge.
He was on his way to responding to a run when the crash occurred.

“The vehicle hit the fence, nearly entering the freeway,” said Jones.

He said the captain with decades of service, who worked out of the fire house on Second Street, was arrested for drinking and driving, something there’s a zero tolerance policy for within the department.

“We are starting our disciplinary process. He is also suspended. The penalty for consuming alcohol on duty is termination,” said Jones.

Jones recalled a similar incident a week ago where another department member struck an empty car on his way to a run and was also allegedly drinking after a party.

Jones said it's important to remember that these two mistakes don’t represent the professionalism of the department as a whole.

“The vast majority of the department that come in every day, they put their lives on the line. Those are the members that we can celebrate,” he said.

A press conference is now being planned to send a message to all others working for the Detroit Fire Department. We’re told the DFFA, A union for the firefighters will also be speaking there.

“We respond to runs where people have consumed alcohol and been involved in fatal accidents. We know better and are going to do better,” said Jones.

The DFD member from last week also remains on unpaid leave. No criminal charges have been filed in either case.

As both the criminal and internal investigations continue, the commissioner says they’ll release more info later this week about addressing these issues department-wide.