DFD Decision Making, Destroys Lifes

Report by Reginald D. Amos, Deputy Chief (ret)

(Last week a fire struck a residential home with the result of a three year old girl losing her life.)

The fire was at 5167 Cooper and the first fire truck on the scene was Tac-2 which replaced Engine 46 which was out of service for two weeks due to mechanical problems. Tac -2 is not designed to fight structural or dwelling fires, it is designed to get into areas where a normal size fire truck will have difficulty manuvering or can’t get to. Tac-2 is equipped with pumps and has its own water supply. This particular truck was purchased with funds from the casinos [taxes] and delivered in 2008 to battle auto fires in the parking structures.
It was initially reported that the firefighters assigned to Tac 2 upon arrival could not fight the fire because the pumps were broken and they had to wait until another fire truck arrived. A second fire truck arrived on scene and according to the family, a third fire truck arrived on scene before fire lines (hose) were pulled to fight the fire. Firefighters utilized a ladder and entered the front upstairs bedroom window where the 3 year old was found and was handed out the window to other firefighters barely breathing but alive. She was transported to the hospital where she made her transition. 
The second report was Tac -2 pumps were disconnected. The day after the tragedy Tac 2 was taken to the training academy where Fire Commissioner Donald Austin , Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler and other Fire Department Personnel were assembled; the vehicle was inspected and the pumps operated fine.
Commissioner Austin said the pump had been disengaged because anyone expected to use Tac -2 has to be certified. “We did not have to my knowledge a certified driver on that rig”
September 16, 2011 viewing of Let It Rip, News Reporter Charlie Leduff produce a copy of an order instructing Firefighters not to use Tac 2 Pumps. 
The following is the troubling concern:

Tac -2 should never have been used to replace Engine 46 or any other fire vehicle.

The fact Engine 46 been out of service for repairs 2 weeks is unacceptable. Why?
No Back -Up or Replacement Vehicle is unacceptable. Why?
No Certified Driver’s for Tac -2 is Unacceptable.

Note: Fire Department Leadership made the decision not to spend over time funds to train and certify personnel to drive and operate this vehicle.

Commissioner Austin statement “I believe to the bottom of my heart everything worked as it should”.

Commissioner Austin statement “It would not have made any difference at all if a regular pumper had been in service”.

Commissioner Austin statement ” Booster Lines are not designed for interior firefighting”.

Commissioner Austin statement ” We made the decision to put the smaller tactical unit in the firehouse that day to be certain firefighters could be carried quickly to any possible rescue attempt which is usually attempted before hoses are used to douse a blaze”.

Commissioner Austin is being ill-advised by Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler and 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioner Cheryl Campbell who neither have Fire Command Experience or Fire Service Supervisory Experience. Before Wheeler received his political appointment to 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioner by the urging of Carolyn Kilpatrick to Kwame Kilpatrick, Wheeler was a Fire Engine Operator (Driver). Campbell was a Captain in EMS Training. Both are members of the prior Fire Leadership Team that created major problems for the fire department and is the reason the fire department is in the dysmal condition it is today.
It is interesting Commissioner Austin can find funding to create a New Organization {Chart} with new positions and appoint two new 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioners with staffing but cannot find funds to repair or replace fire equipment in a acceptable time frame. What is the cost? and where did the funding come from? Clearly the Fire Department is “Top Heavy”.
If this is the best Commissioner Austin can come up with after nearly four months as Fire Commissioner, Mayor Bing need to cut his losses and immediately fire Commissioner Austin and the Entire Fire Department Executive Leadership Team along with the Civilian Advisory Fire Commissioners. If Commissioner Austin made the above statements and initiated the above actions in L.A. California, he would be immediately fired.
– Incompetence
– Gross Negligence
– Malfeasance
– Misfeasance
– Nonfeasance

Contributing Factors:
• Commissioner Austin failed to properly assess the Detroit Fire Department.
• Poor Management Decisions, Key Missteps and Dysfunctional Ineffective Leadership.
Commissioner Austin is an outsider who doesn’t know the Detroit Fire Department dynamics.
Austin was brought in from Los Angeles, California to serve as Executive Fire Commissioner to correct Incompetence and Mismanagement in Detroit Fire Department Leadership and address Negative Response Time and Equipment Issues of EMS and Firefighting Division. How can he effectively address those concerns keeping members of the previous incompetent leadership team and appointing individuals with absolutely no Fire Service Knowledge oe Experience.
At this point I question Commissioner Austin ability to effectively lead the Detroit Fire Department.
The Citizens of Detroit cannot wait for Austin to OJT (On the Job Train).
Report by Reginald D. Amos, Deputy Chief (ret)

(Last week a fire struck a residential home with the result of a three year old girl losing her life.)

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