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How a Skeleton Crew Fire Department Deals With a Major Outbreak of Arson

How a Skeleton Crew Fire Department Deals With a Major Outbreak of Arson
The Verge

For years the firefighters of Highland Park, Michigan, a three-square mile town completely surrounded by the city of Detroit, worked out of a giant warehouse. Why? The city didn't have enough money to maintain the actual fire station. Firefighters have since returned to the condemned building—to put out a fire there. 

In this great new micro-documentary by the team at Verge, we learn that the Highland Park Fire Department fights as many as 200 structural fires a year in a city of 12,000, despite only having a crew of around 30. Many of these fires are the product of "people burning for kicks, or for insurance money, or to clear abandoned property," but some of them are also started by squatters just trying to stay warm. Until stimulus funds gave them a new fire station in August, Highland Park firefighters faced the same problem: It was almost impossible for them to stay warm during their shifts in the plywood rooms they built inside the warehouse.

Spare 13 minutes to watch the documentary (over lunch, perhaps?). You won't regret it. 

Top image: The Highland Park fire department operated out of this warehouse for several years. The Verge/Youtube

Mike Riggs is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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