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Firefighters 'hope it gets better' if Detroit gets an EFM

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Engine 50 Acting Chief Gene Biondo said firefighters "hope it get better" if Detroit gets an EFM.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Engine 50 Acting Chief Gene Biondo said firefighters "hope it get better" if Detroit gets an EFM. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

With tens of thousands of abandoned houses and dozens of arsons every day, Detroit firefighters are trying to respond with limited resources in the cash strapped city.

A ladder truck returned from a run Wednesday at Engine 50. It had been a busy morning on the city's east side as they responded to four suspicious fires between midnight and 8:00 a.m. sometimes well out of their area.

"Throughout the city we have companies that are browned out daily, and we still have to cover. We have 150 square miles. Doesn't matter how many companies there are. If we have to send one rig, you've got to cover," said Engine 50 Acting Chief Gene Biondo.

On any given day in the City of Detroit, a number of vehicles are simply out of service. On Wednesday, eight trucks and three engines were simply not available.

Near Mack and Chalmers, the block is full of properties that have burned.

"It's just like a four or five alarm fire somebody deliberately set, and it just burnt all the houses and caught [one on fire where] people were actually living there at that time," said Thomas Howard. "It's just a disaster. It's just sad."

The house where Howard lived during his childhood is gone.

Seeme Zendeli owns Krazy Pizza nearby across the street from a building that has been set on fire several times.

"We've only been here about two-and-a-half year. This last six months, I've been seeing more of it," he said.

The Detroit Fire Department responded to 38,000 runs last year. They're waiting for the ladders to be certified on their trucks. They're not supposed to use them, but will in an emergency when needed for a rescue. Now an emergency financial manager could be coming in and with it hope things will get better.

"If it comes in, we hope it gets better. We control what we can control, and we adjust to what we can," Biondo said. "We're just trying to get by, trying to stay alive, go home to your family in the morning. That's all."

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