Tourists paying to help DFD fight fires: Is this idea for real? - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Tourists paying to help fight Detroit's fires: Is this idea for real?

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Detroit fire truck  (Credit: MyFox Detroit) Detroit fire truck (Credit: MyFox Detroit)
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DETROIT (WJBK) -

Are you a firefighter from a sleepy corner of this planet?  Don't feel much like a man because you don't get much action?  Don't worry because you can now pay to become a Detroit firefighter for a day.  Seriously.

Now don't get all hot and bothered.  It's just in the planning stages.

Let me explain.  Since Mayor Bing gutted the fire service, the department has been forced to close down rigs and layoff men.  What to do?  Here's a firecracker of an idea.  Because Detroit for years has been a magnet for firefighter tourists riding along on the rigs, Commissioner Don Austin, according to his "ride-along training program" memo, is thinking, hey, why not put them to work and charge them for the privilege.

Think about it, you don't even have to pay their benefits, and what a great experience it will be for that guy from podunk.  You can fight fires.  It's really busy.  You can help pull hose.  You get to save babies.  You might even get to have breakfast with a confessed murderer waiting at the fire house for the cops to come and arrest him.

Of course, no tour would be complete without coming to the fire truck graveyard.

Sound great, but some people aren't so sure.

"What about when the roof falls on the guy that's out helping.  Who's going to take care of his liability part?" one firefighter said.

"That's not the answer, no.  We need firefighters, our laid off guys back.  That's what we need," said Darnell McLaurin with DFAA Local 344.

How does one of the laid off guys feel about being replaced by tourists?

"Tourists?  Wow.  Do they know what to do?" said Sam Shack.

We caught up with Fire Commissioner Don Austin at the fire truck repair shop.  He told us he would call us back.

Well, the commissioner never did get back with us, but Mayor Bing's people did by text message saying that was just an internal memo and there's nothing to discuss publicly.  Nothing.

But I can't blame the fire commissioner because after all those cutbacks, the only thing he does have in abundance is fire, and why not profit off it.

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