Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Detroit's Mayor Covering For City's Incompetent Fire Response

The horrible fires that have swept through parts of Detroit recently were natural, says Mayor Dave Bing. He called the fires a natural disaster. Perhaps Mayor Bing is lying to cover up the fact that Detroit's fire department has long been understaffed and under-equipped, or maybe he is trying to squeeze as much federal funding as he can. Or, maybe, both. The bottom line is that Bing seems to be playing politics with a disaster that has destroyed homes and businesses in an already depressed city. Associated Press reported that Mayor Bing called the blazes natural. He "defended a stretched fire department Wednesday and its response to what he termed 'a natural disaster,' after wind-whipped flames destroyed dozens of occupied and abandoned homes across the city." Bing, according to AP, "said firefighters confronted conditions that were not manmade' starting Tuesday afternoon. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph forced flames to jump from house to house, eventually encompassing 85 homes and garages — many abandoned — across several neighborhoods." The Detroit News reported that Mayor Bing "said very little could have been done to prevent" the fires, "which required emergency help from five surrounding communities, engulfed at least 85 structures throughout the city. Bing said every community except southwest Detroit was affected." Amazingly, Bing went so far as to say that "You can never have enough resources when something like that happens," and "You can't plan for something like that." The cause of the lastest fires, actually, is still being investigated. Bing, therefore, is speaking out of turn. He doesn't know, nobody yet knows, what caused the fires. One thing that does seem certain, though, it the cause of the poor response by the Detroit Fire Department. Nobody blames the DFD itself, nor any of its brave firefighters. Rather, the city's inept government is to blame for having whittled down the DFD to an inadequate manpower level. MyFox Detroit interviewed Captain Dan McNamara, the president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association. Capt. McNamara had some harsh words for Detroit's government, and he told Fox that the CFD is severely understaffed. According to a September 8 report on Fox, "the city needs 200-300 more firefighters to properly service and keep citizens safe." Fox asked Capt. McNamara for his assessment last night's response by the fire department. He said (emphasis added), "Abmissal. Unfortunately, this is something that we have been telling the mayors, the city council and our fire administration for almost a decade now. We've been diminished to the point that we're so concerned about our firefighters safety, but no one's listening to us. We're down probably 200-300 firefighters. Of the 65 fire companies we have left in the city, 8-10 a day are closed which leaves giant holes. And fire fighting hasn't changed. It's about weight and response time and the amount of people you send there. And when we don't get to a fire in time, and fires can double in size every 2-3 minutes, we have a very serious situation on our hands." Only a fool would believe Mayor Bing when he says that "very little could have been done to prevent" the fires, and that "You can never have enough resources when something like that happens," and "You can't plan for something like that." Perhaps Mayor Bing is a complete idiot. More likely, he's hoping that most of his constituents are idiots. Only a fool would believe those words. The whole point of having a fire department in the first place is to be prepared for potential disaster. The mere act of instituting a fire department involves "planning for something like that." If Capt. McNamara is to be believed, plenty could have been done to ensure that Detroit had "enough resources when something like that happens." It doesn't matter whether a fire is started by an arsonist or a lightning bolt. It starts quickly and with no warning. Manmade or natural, the fire spreads to nearby buildings at the same rate. For Mayor Bing to excuse his city's years-long emasculation of their fire department by blaming nature is inexcusable. We'll give Mayor Bing a pass when he says that some fires are not preventable. Arson, for example: Nobody can predict when somebody will sprinkle gasoline around a warehouse and set it ablaze, but Mayor Bing would have us believe that "you can never have enough resources when something like that happens." The fires in Detroit were whipped by high winds, which certainly compounded the situation, but Capt. McNamara hinted that the wind should not be used as an excuse by Mayor Bing. "We live in Michigan," Capt. McNamara said, "We have always handled the weather. Sure, this was the perfect storm. But it's a day that we warned them that was coming. We don't have enough of a response. We don't have enough firefighters to adequately get to every one of our issues." Mayor Bing seems to be generating enough wind lately to fan a lot of flames, and tempers are flaring in Detroit. While it's true that Detroit's firefighters "confronted conditions that were not manmade" (dry weather, high winds), the conditions that caused CFD's poor response were entirely manmade. The real scandal in all of this is Detroit's pitiful economic condition, which has contributed heavily to the lousy economy of Michigan. The lousy economy of Michigan can be blamed directly on the financially corrupt and economically ignorant policies of that state's Democrat leadership. The lack of funds is the primary cause of the Detroit Fire Department being 200-300 firefighters short of where it should be. That, in turn, is a direct cause of the fires spreading as far and as quickly as they have. Consequently, lost lives, jobs, dreams and property in these latest Detroit fires can be blamed directly on the Michigan Democratic Party. RELATED: Report: Michigan slips in child well-being ranking Detroit News Michigan's Latest Economic Numbers Confirm Failure of Status Quo MacKinac Center Michigan's unemployment rate will top 15% through 2011 FY2011 School Aid Fund Budget: A Day Late and A Few Hundred Million Dollars Short Citizens Research Council of Michigan