Detroit Proposes Charging Tourists To Help Fire Department Put Out Fires


Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin in an internal memo suggested the cash-strapped city and department use tourists as firefighters, and charge them for the privilege of helping the fire department. 

For years, Detroit has been described as a “magnet for firefighter tourists riding along on the rigs,” and Austin wrote his “ride-along training program” memo to put forth a creative solution to increase the fire department’s revenue and manpower. 

Detroit firefighters were not even amused with Austin’s memo. 

“What about when the roof falls on the guy that’s out helping.  Who’s going to take care of his liability part?” one firefighter said.

“That’s not the answer, no. We need firefighters, our laid off guys back. That’s what we need,” said Darnell McLaurin with DFAA Local 344.

Reporters for MyFoxDetroit tracked down Austin, and Austin told them he would give them a comment, but has yet to do so. Representatives for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said the memo was just an internal memo and there was nothing more to discuss. 

Photo credit: Jason Rzucidlo/


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