Detroit Fire Commissioner under fire for changing dispatch policy on non-emergency calls

Posted at 5:31 PM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 20:42:03-04

The President of the Detroit Firefighters Association says Fire Commissioner Eric Jones needs to be fired after changing policy on answering some fire and EMS non-emergency calls.  

They will now be answered without lights and sirens.

Commissioner Jones says it is for safety reasons for residents and his crews.

One of those fire runs without lights and sirens was to the home of Sandra Bailey on Ardmore Street.  

She had a fire in her basement while she was in Warren. Her ADT Alarm company called her and reported the fire.  

She says she beat the one fire truck that arrived.  

“Flying down 8 Mile and I get here, and they’re pulling up. I let them in.  No lights, no sirens. For real? For real? Some of my stuff I can’t replace.  It’s some of my stuff I lost when I lost my husband six years ago.  I can’t get that back. I won’t ever get that back.  Thank God I wasn’t in there. They don’t feel my hurt,” she said crying.  

Commissioner Jones says they have 1,000 fire calls and 2,300 EMS calls a week.  

But last year,  2017, there were only 17 accidents.  

Commissioner Jones could not answer today specifics about those saying, “So, I don’t have the information of the worst of the 17.”

Firefighter Union President Mike Nevin says, “They went before city council and said we had 17 accidents in 2017. What knocking a mirror off? Or backing into a—-. It’s manipulated false information.”

The Fire Commissioner says other major cities have gone to this policy including Miami, St. Louis, Phoenix, and Boston.  

He added, “I don’t know what to say to anyone who is mad at the fire department and leadership for doing the job, the great job of making sure they’re protected.”

This may not be final.  

The Firefighters Union President and the Fire Commissioner will meet with the Mayor tomorrow.  But for now, the Mayor supports this change.