Detroit, MI – The owners of a two-story home that burned down are furious at a picture of firefighters posing in front of the burning building.
The Detroit Fire Department said the home was vacant at the time and the fire was too much for the firefighters to put out.
“Everybody is furious,” Deonte Higginbotham, 21, told the New York Post. Higginbotham said the brick home has been in his family for 50 years. “They just let it burn to the ground … Eighteen men and none of them did anything. All of them need to be fired.”
City of Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said that there was a retiring chief in the middle of the photo and that he thought the selfie was taken as a memento for the chief, according to the New York Post.
“… but unfortunately, that’s probably not very professional,” Fornell told the New York Post. “It was a fire in a vacant building … The fire was pretty involved, we were not going to go into the building. What we would do is keep the fire from spreading.”
Higginbotham said that he and his mother, Dorothy, live at the house but were not at the home on New Year’s Eve because the family was renovating it, according to the New York Post.
“I’ve lived in it my whole life,” Higginbotham said.
He said his mother suffers from Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know about the fire as she is living with other family members.
A New York firefighter said that type of photo would never have been taken in his city.
“Wow, that’s crazy,” a New York firefighter told the New York Post after a reporter showed him the Detroit selfie. “It’s surprising. You gotta do your job. It doesn’t matter [if the house is empty or occupied]. If something’s on fire, you need to extinguish it first before taking any pictures.”
The firefighter, who wasn’t identified by the New York Post, also said the New York fire department has a policy that doesn’t allow them to post pictures of their work on social media.
The Facebook page that posted the photo released a statement on its own page.
“In regards to the photo that was removed we would like to clear a few things up,” the Detroit Fire Incidents Page posted. “First of us no one at this page took that photo. Second we were asked to post it by a fire fighter for the city of Detroit. Third the only reason it was removed is we received messages by guys on the job stating that they had been threatened For the photo being posted. To clarify ‘threatened’ meaning threatened by their work I would assume by their context threatened of punitive actions.”