First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

“No Ambulance Available” for Injured Detroit Firefighters

Darlena Taylor-Bonds, writing in Detroit Examiner (HERE) provides a disturbing factoid about the building collapse that injured eight firefighters, four critically.

8 Detroit Firemen injured, No EMS units available

Some current workers continue to complaint about responding to runs that were more than 3-4 hours holding. As the workers dreaded the day that someone would call and no units would be available, today was the day.

Eight Detroit firemen were injured on Detroit’s Eastside while fighting a multiple alarm fire. Some of the injured firemen had to transported by the police department, because there weren’t any available EMS units.

Photo/D.Taylor-Bonds from

Taylor-Bonds covered the state of Detroit EMS in a June 28th column (here).

Friday’s headline, while dramatic, was not completely accurate.

Taylor-Bonds provided a link to a recording of the incident.

You can hear Chief 6 report the building collapse, request for a second alarm, and update the status of injured firefighters HERE.

Quick Transport Noted

The compressed audio recording from, while not providing a detailed time-line, gives us an idea of what happened on the EMS side of the incident.

  • Chief 6 calls for EMS units and reports collapse of building
  • Chief 6 calls for second alarm
  • 0748:  Second alarm dispatched
  • Squad 6 (suppression company) reports transporting two firefighters to St. John.
  • Chief 6 asks for ETA of EMS  (… 2 minutes)
  • Chief 6 reports EMS on the scene.  EMS transporting 2, Traffic Enforcement (police) transporting 1, Squad 6 transporting.
  • Squad 3 (suppression company) reports one minute ETA if needed for transport.
  • Unit 200 assuming incident command.
  • 0800: Radio time check

Detroit Squad 6 from Alan Simmons Fire Videos

It appears that the injured firefighters that were not trapped were enroute to the hospital within 10 to 12 minutes of the collapse.

Three of the five were transported in fire trucks or police cars.

I can think of better-resourced departments where rapid, but non-traditional, transports would probably occur given the same incident.

The inaccurate headline does NOT diminish the issue of the dramatically under-resourced fire-based EMS service in Detroit.  Better resources would mean all injured firefighters get paramedic-level treatment and transport.

Or ignore the critical shortages and crushing workload on Detroit firefighters.

Mike “FossilMedic” Ward

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