New Detroit fire commissioner promises to fix "basic processes"

Oct 14, 2015

Detroit interim fire commissioner Eric Jones.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has named Eric Jones as the city's interim fire commissioner.

Jones isn’t a firefighter himself. He came up through the ranks of the Detroit Police Department, rising to the rank of assistant chief.

Most recently, Jones led the city’s Buildings, Safety and Engineering Department.

Duggan says Jones has proven himself a capable administrator, and is the best person to fix the “basic process” problems still plaguing the fire department.

“I want to see a fire department where our men and women stay in safe and well-maintained facilities that are properly supplied, and get into vehicles they know will be fully functional, with equipment that is properly maintained, and when they get to the scene they find fire hydrants that are working,” said Duggan.

Jones said he’ll focus on ensuring that firefighters have safe equipment and adequate pay.

“And most importantly, my job is to listen to your concerns, and address the issues that you believe are important to the safety of the citizens of Detroit, and your working conditions,” Jones said.

Jones said that listening to rank-and-file concerns is especially important because he doesn’t come from a firefighting background. However, he noted that his son is a current Detroit firefighter.

Jones replaces Edsel Jenkins, who is stepping down. His appointment is temporary for now, but Duggan said he’ll ask the Detroit City Council to approve Jones as the city’s permanent fire commissioner.