Detroit’s Bankruptcy Continuously Affects the City’s Fire Department

by San Antonio Attorney

The fire department of Detroit has gone through difficult times as the city is slowly emerging from its bankruptcy ordeal.  Formerly the fourth largest city in the nation, Detroit’s population has dwindled over the past years.

Craig Dougherty, a veteran of the Fire Department for almost 38 years, was appointed as the deputy fire commissioner in charge of operations and apparatus.  However, in October, a new prospect was appointed and this led Dougherty to resign from his post.

Dougherty, who worked in the fire department since 1977, has served every rank in a span of 38 years.  Dougherty related his experiences of trying to keep almost defective fire apparatuses in order to protect the city.

When Dougherty was put in charge of the equipment, he revealed that he handled almost 37 engines to protect the city and 11 of these were already out of service which required significant repair or replacement.

The aerials were only 10 in service and majority of these were not even certified.  Dougherty added that only 38 ambulances were available to cover the city in times of disaster.  Private ambulances took place whenever there was shortage.

Dougherty revealed that DFD answered 224,000 calls in 2013 despite equipment and staff shortage.

The problems in the fire department did not end there when the employees suffered from working without pay last December 2012.  The city was straddled with $18 billion in debt and eventually filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

As rapid reorganization under bankruptcy protection is implemented, the city’s assets such as an art museum were all used as a means to pay the debt.  Any asset beneficial to the city was considered as potential collateral.  Private foundations and establishments have tried to prevent this by collecting $866 million in aid of bailing out the city.

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