City of Detroit to investigate fire department after two drunken driving incidents
Two Detroit fire fighters were found to have been drinking and driving on the job after crashing their department-issued vehicles. The city is now conducting an audit of the emergency service and re-emphasizing its zero-tolerance policy on working while under the influence of alcohol.
In one case a fire captain nearly crashed his city-issued vehicle onto the Lodge freeway. Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones says police are conducting a criminal investigation into the two incident while the fire department handles an internal probe.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we don’t have repeated instances of these incidents.”
Jones says command staff will begin working at fire stations again after many had been working remotely through the pandemic.
“They’re going to be accountable for checking the fire station to make sure that they’re not any intoxicants on site,” Jones says. “They’re going to be held accountable for interacting with their members to make sure that they don’t notice any signs of impairment.”
Tom Gehart is the president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association. He says union members are dealing with a lot of pressure on top of increased runs.
“This COVID-19 has put a lot of stress on our members.”
Mayor Mike Duggan says he and other city officials failed to address the pressure of the job as the department added responsibilities.
“We should have dramatically ramped up our employee assistance program to help these very courageous individuals deal with the stress, deal with alcoholism, deal with whatever other issues.”
Duggan says the Detroit Fire Department is responsible for 25,000 fire runs each year. He says recently the service became responsible for an additional 15,000 medical runs to its annual duties.