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Detroit firefighters win right to depose top city officials

detroit fire department fire truck

Detroit firefighters have won the right to subpoena and depose top members of Mayor Dave Bing’s administration.

The firefighters union is suing the city. They say that decisions to close firehouses have jeopardized public safety in violation of the city charter and national fire protection standards—and have left targeted areas of the city virtually without adequate service.

Detroit Firefighters Association President Dan McNamara says they’re “looking for the decision-makers,” and they want them under oath.

“We believe we have the information to show that the city has purposely changed the fire protection coverage of the city, to not only just not protect certain areas, but to go so far out of the normal time frame for response that we’re not able to do proper firerescue and fire suppression,” McNamara said.

The city had fought the effort, but a judge ruled in the union’s favor. McNamara says top officials will start depositions later month.

Detroit fire officials say they’re doing the best they can in light of tough but necessary cuts. They also point out the city has won some major federal grants to supplement the department's dwindling budget in the past year.

Seven people have died of fire-related causes in the city so far this year.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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