Detroit Firefighters In Hot Water For Taking Photo In Front Of A Burning House

Detroit, MI – The owners of a two-story home that burned down are furious at a picture of firefighters posing in front of the burning building.

The Detroit Fire Department said the home was vacant at the time and the fire was too much for the firefighters to put out.

“Everybody is furious,” Deonte Higginbotham, 21, told the New York Post. Higginbotham said the brick home has been in his family for 50 years. “They just let it burn to the ground … Eighteen men and none of them did anything. All of them need to be fired.”

City of Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said that there was a retiring chief in the middle of the photo and that he thought the selfie was taken as a memento for the chief, according to the New York Post.

“… but unfortunately, that’s probably not very professional,” Fornell told the New York Post. “It was a fire in a vacant building … The fire was pretty involved, we were not going to go into the building. What we would do is keep the fire from spreading.”

Higginbotham said that he and his mother, Dorothy, live at the house but were not at the home on New Year’s Eve because the family was renovating it, according to the New York Post.

“I’ve lived in it my whole life,” Higginbotham said.

He said his mother suffers from Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know about the fire as she is living with other family members.

A New York firefighter said that type of photo would never have been taken in his city.

“Wow, that’s crazy,” a New York firefighter told the New York Post after a reporter showed him the Detroit selfie. “It’s surprising. You gotta do your job. It doesn’t matter [if the house is empty or occupied]. If something’s on fire, you need to extinguish it first before taking any pictures.”

The firefighter, who wasn’t identified by the New York Post, also said the New York fire department has a policy that doesn’t allow them to post pictures of their work on social media.

The Facebook page that posted the photo released a statement on its own page.

“In regards to the photo that was removed we would like to clear a few things up,” the Detroit Fire Incidents Page posted. “First of us no one at this page took that photo. Second we were asked to post it by a fire fighter for the city of Detroit. Third the only reason it was removed is we received messages by guys on the job stating that they had been threatened For the photo being posted. To clarify ‘threatened’ meaning threatened by their work I would assume by their context threatened of punitive actions.”

Comments (32)
No. 1-12
DR226
DR226

I'm sure this 21 year old was taking real good care of his mom with alzheimer's. And what was the cause? Insurance job maybe? I guess either way this was a bit unprofessional.

RPG156
RPG156

Sometimes fire improves a neighborhood.

Raymelson
Raymelson

It seems to me that people get offended to easy

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

As a firefighter, I find this embarrassing. it's not a training fire, it's not a celebration, it's an actual fire where all of the firefighters are too busy taking a selfie than putting the fire out.

Spray it it water, put the fire out, THEN, if you must, take a group selfie for the retiring chief as a reminder of a job well done. This is just embarrassing.

flybynight
flybynight

Most fire depts will burn down abandon houses for the practice of putting them out. Not sure this one was even worth that. Wonder how the fire started? Homeless people?

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

Stupid to take the picture, really stupid to post it on social media.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Wayne County property records show that Dorothy Higginbotham transferred ownership of the property to Deonte Higginbotham in May.

There's no record of renovation permits being pulled for the property in at least a decade, according to David Bell, director of Detroit's Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department.

Separately, the water department has not received a payment on the property since February 2018, and the account has a past-due balance of $3,834.15, said Tiffany Jones, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Despite the arrears, the account was still active but hasn't shown any usage since Feb. 6, 2019, Jones said. Prior to that month, she added, there had been no usage since May 2018.

BrevardMarc27
BrevardMarc27

I’m hoping no rodents perished as a result.

LynnSB
LynnSB

So they took a damn picture it’s not like they started the fire the place from what a few people have written hasn’t even been in habitant since February 2018 I think somebody’s just fishing around for money for quick lottery pay out from the city because they’re all so offended that picture was taken of bullshit another stem artist trying to get money for nothing

MJTECH
MJTECH

Terrible picture, the photographer should have used a stronger flash and did a color balance before shooting the shot.

DNW
DNW

They may have believed the house was abandoned. Otherwise, it's indeed unprofessional to take a grinning selfie with someone else's tragedy playing out in the background.

Det_John_Kimble
Det_John_Kimble

So what, 50,000 more crap homes to go to improve that city. Have you seen street view?