First Arriving Network
Powered by the First Arriving Network,Reaching 1M+ First Responders Worldwide

Detroit Ambulance Bursts Into Fire With Patient Inside

Motor City EMS is Literally on the Brink of Collapse

ON WEDNESDAY MORNING A DETROIT FD AMBULANCE suddenly started burning in the engine compartment.  Between the slow response of the first unit and the even longer wait for the replacement ambulance to complete the transfer, it was more than an hour before the patient arrived at the hospital after calling for help.

WJBK-TV’s bulldog reporter Charlie LeDuff was right on the story, as always, and shows why the city has a long way to go before things get better in the Fire Department and the EMS Division.  While the city is “conducting a nationwide search” for a new fire commissioner, the mayor has laughingly appointed the head of the Apparatus Division Fred Wheeler to act as interim Deputy Commissioner.  According to the DFD website, the Apparatus Division is charged with:  The primary objective of this division is to provide a supply of safe, fully operational fire apparatus, functional tools, equipment, and supplies.  Chief Wheeler has openly expressed a desire to be appointed to the Commissioner’s job.

When LeDuff attempted to ask the acting commissioner  about the ambulance fire
and related maintenance problems, Wheeler ran off saying that he “ain’t got time
for this.”  See the complete sequence in the video below.  (WJBK-TV image)

View the entire video report on the ambulance fire and the subsequent self-destruction of Wheeler’s dream to be a chief here:


*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Comments - Add Yours

  • John


    The reporter’s name is Charlie LeDuff. Amazing, they fire the Commissioner and his deputy for failure to maintain apparatus and equipment, and the guy in charge of the (lack of) repairs gets put in charge. Talking off the record to some DFD guys, word is the interim commissioner has moved up the ranks only because of his political influence as one of the leaders of the black firefighter’s association.

    • firegeezer

      Thanks, I corrected Charlie’s last name. As far as Wheeler’s political connections go, you are probably right. According to the Detroit News: Wheeler’s brother, Heaster Wheeler, is the executive director of the Detroit Branch NAACP. Heaster is also a former firefighter.

      I’m wondering out loud if maybe Bing assigned Wheeler to the acting dep. comm. job to both get him out of the apparatus div. and to let him sink or swim in the new position.