Fire News

Published April 26, 2017

Lawmakers have proposed legislation they said aims to track and respond to the health care needs of firefighters. 

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, co-sponsored legislation to establish a national registry to monitor cancer diagnoses in firefighters. 

According to the International Association of Fire Fighters, nearly 60 percent of firefighters will die from cancer.

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Published April 26, 2017

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — In an unprecedented move, the Shelby Township Fire Department bestowed its 2016 Firefighter of the Year award on two members of the department: Deputy Fire Marshal Duane Staten and firefighter medic Don Burke.

Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski said he and his command staff simply could not place one recipient over the other, since both accomplished admirable feats in two completely separate areas.

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Published April 24, 2017

A suspect is in custody and a resident is recovering in the hospital following an early morning fire April 24 at a local apartment complex.

According to Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee, crews were called around 4:59 a.m. to Regal Towers Apartments, 27500 Franklin Road, on a report of a fire.

Menifee said crews arrived at the scene at 5:06 a.m. and were met with smoke and fire on the first floor of the apartment complex.

The fire started in the mailroom, Menifee said.

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Published April 7, 2017

UPDATE: As of April 10, the firefighters have been released from the hospital, where they were kept overnight for observation after the incident. They have not yet returned to work.


Two firefighters are at Detroit Medical Center April 7 after they were shocked while fighting a fire on a sailboat in Jefferson Beach Marina.

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Published April 6, 2017

Employees returned to their jobs at a factory at 1305 Stephenson Road after firefighters extinguished a fire in a dust collector April 5.

Firefighters arrived at Witzenmann, which manufactures automotive components and other products for clients that include John Deere, to find the employees outside the building after the blaze was reported just after 12:30 p.m.

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Published March 29, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Changes to the latest three-year contract for St. Clair Shores firefighters work to make the city more marketable to new hires in a competitive industry.

The latest contract for all employees of the Fire Department, except the chief, includes a 2 percent wage increase beginning the first pay period of July 2017 and similar increases in July of 2018 and 2019. 

But another change to the contract increases the pension multiplier for the first 25 years of service from 2.0 to 2.25 for employees hired after Jan. 1, 2016.

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Published March 22, 2017

FERNDALE — The City Council approved the purchase of a generator March 13 that will power City Hall and the Ferndale Police Department during power outages.

Council members unanimously approved the purchase of a 200-kilowatt diesel generator with an integrated 400-gallon diesel fuel tank for $153,700 from McNulty Electric. It was the lowest of eight bids that the city received for the project.

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Published March 22, 2017

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — When the historic windstorm hit the region March 8, 800,000 people lost power, including roughly 6,000 Shelby Township residents. While many endured without heat March 8 and 9, falling temperatures March 10 forced many to seek shelter elsewhere.

A handful of Shelby Township residents sought to stay the night at the Shelby Township Community Center on March 10, which functioned as an emergency warming center during the day. Shelby Township officials worked together to accommodate the residents’ needs.

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Published March 22, 2017

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Several recent fires in the township sparked the topic of how important proper safety protocols are, West Bloomfield Fire Marshal Byron Turnquist said. 

Whether it is changing your smoke alarms regularly, practicing a fire escape plan or putting out a grease fire, Turnquist said there is a right way to stay safe.

“It is very important ... especially now (with daylight saving time) that people test their smoke alarms to see if they work,” Turnquist said.  

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Published March 17, 2017

ROYAL OAK — Police released the identity of the woman found dead following a house fire earlier this month on the city’s east side.

Marsha Baliff, 72, was a longtime Royal Oak resident and attorney described by neighbors as a friendly, quiet woman who served as an inspiration to the neighborhood with her regular walks despite her obvious frail physical condition.

According to the State Bar of Michigan, Baliff first became an attorney in 1981. Her license was in good standing at the time of her death.

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Published March 16, 2017

DETROIT — Henry Keith Johnson, a 55-year-old Detroit resident, has been charged with five counts of first-degree felony murder following a fire on the city’s east side that authorities have concluded was arson.

On the afternoon of March 8, Detroit firefighters responded to a call at an apartment complex on Whittier Avenue, near Beaconsfield Street. The building held eight apartments with an undetermined number of residents living there.

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Published March 15, 2017

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Clinton Township Fire Department will eventually enjoy a new, enhanced truck.

At the Feb. 27 Board of Trustees meeting, the board unanimously approved the purchase of a new ladder truck. Trustee Jenifer “Joie” West was absent.

Clinton Township Fire Chief Mike Phy said four vendors submitted bids — which were opened in January — to replace a 14-year-old ladder truck that’s currently part of the fleet. The truck was budgeted at $1 million, with the truck costing an estimated $972,757.

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Published March 14, 2017

Firefighters extinguished two recent home fires that began in each home’s chimney, state fire officials. No injuries were reported.

The fires were in homes on Quail Run and on Red Fox Trail. Both homes are located near Long Lake and Adams roads.

A house fire in the 2000 block of Quail Run was reported at 5:15 p.m. March 13 by a caller who reported heavy smoke coming from the home’s chimney and a sound similar to a turbine engine, a fire report states.

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Published March 11, 2017

Fire officials said the cause of an early morning Saturday house fire that took the life of a 72-year-old woman is still under investigation.

According to a statement issued by Royal Oak Police Department Criminal Investigations Division Lt. Keith Spencer, the fire occurred in the 300 block of South Minerva Avenue March 11.

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Published March 9, 2017

City officials said the Royal Oak Police and Fire departments handled an extremely large number of calls March 8 after high winds ripped through the community.

“Our men and women were very busy yesterday responding to the downed wires, responding to the downed trees and ensuring safety,” said Lt. Keith Spencer, of the Royal Oak Police Department Criminal Investigations Division.

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Published March 8, 2017

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Shelby Township Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski said Fire Station No. 5, located at 21 Mile and Schoenherr roads, is approximately six weeks from completion.

Crews are still working on the inside, so Swinkowski did not have a timetable of when it would be operational, but he estimated that the endeavor would wrap up around the end of March or mid-April.

The next project the Fire Department has its eye on is the relocation of Fire Station No. 4, currently located near 23 Mile and Schoenherr roads, to property it owns at 25 Mile and Schoenherr roads.

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Published March 7, 2017

EASTPOINTE — Lt. Michael Hewelt, a 17-year resident of Eastpointe and an 18-year member of the Eastpointe Fire Department, was scheduled to be honored as Firefighter of the Year for 2016 and receive the Medal of Valor from the Macomb County Fire Chiefs Association March 3 for his efforts to rescue two women from a house fire in January 2016.

“Hewelt commanded a four-man team of firefighters who were called to a fire in progress with occupants trapped inside a home on Sprenger Avenue on Jan. 10, 2016,” according to an Eastpointe press release.

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Published March 3, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Could you climb 71 flights of stairs and make it to the top? 

What if you were hauling 50 extra pounds and racing up each stair?

Six members of the St. Clair Shores Fire Department did just that Feb. 26, beating 46 other fire departments to the top of the Renaissance Center in Detroit during the Fight for Air Stair Climb, which benefits the American Lung Association.

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Published March 1, 2017

TROY — Although construction work on Fire Station 4, on Maple Road, hit a slight setback due to rains earlier this month, the station is set to open in July. 

“We’re a little ahead of schedule,” said Troy Fire Chief Dave Roberts. 

The Planning Commission unanimously approved designs for the new fire station next to the old one on Maple Road, east of John R, at its June 28 meeting.

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Published March 1, 2017

TROY — A clothes dryer caught fire in a single-story home on Post Drive, near John R and Long Lake roads, just after 2:30 p.m. Feb. 26. 

Firefighters arrived on the scene to find everyone out of the home and a fire in the laundry room, said Troy Assistant Fire Chief Richard Riesterer. 

Firefighters searched to ensure everyone was out of the home, quickly extinguished the blaze, then ventilated the smoke from the home, according to a fire report. 

The homeowner had used a fire extinguisher to try to put out the fire, officials said. 

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