Detroit firemen pose for 'selfie on New Years' in front of burning home, slammed for being insensitive
The image was first shared by the Detroit Fire Incidents Page with the caption: 'Crews take a moment to get a selfie on New Years!'
Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones on Wednesday said an investigation has been initiated into a controversial picture that appeared to show a group of firefighters smiling and posing in front of a burning home on New Year's Eve. The image was first shared on Facebook by the Detroit Fire Incidents Page with the caption: "Crews take a moment to get a selfie on New Years!"
It is believed that the picture was taken as a farewell snap for a retiring fire battalion chief. The image, however, sparked outrage online for being insensitive. "I hope that was a staged fire. I'd hate to think my firemen where [sic] posing for pictures while a real house was burning," one social media user wrote in the comments of the picture, which has since been removed.
Jones, in a statement, said: "There are a lot of ways to celebrate a retirement. Taking a photo in front of a building fire is not one of them. We will investigate this matter and follow the facts where they lead us. If this photo is verified, discipline will be in order."
The commissioner, while talking to The Detroit News, called the image unprofessional and inappropriate. "Ninety-nine percent of the men and women who go to a scene like that know what to do. Behind every fire is a devastated family or property owner."
A picture of the house released a day after the incident showed that it was completely burnt down. The property, at the time of the incident, was empty, according to reports.
Dep. Commissioner Dave Fornell also slammed the image, calling it "despicable." He told WXYZ that the crew were unable to go inside the burning home because of the intensity of the fire.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Fire Incidents Page released a statement, saying they do not know who took the picture, however, they were asked to post it by a firefighter who is based in the city. The picture was removed from the page after "guys on the job" messaged them, saying they had been "threatened for the photo being posted."
"In regards to the photo that was removed, we would like to clear a few things up. First of all, no one at this page took that photo," the group said. "Second, we were asked to post it by a firefighter for the city of Detroit. Third, the only reason it was removed is we received messages by guys on the job stating that they had been threatened For the photo being posted."
"To clarify “threatened” meaning threatened by their work I would assume by their context threatened of punitive actions. Happy New Years from us at Detroit Fire Incidents Page," the page added in its statement.