Detroit firefighter injured in vacant apartment building fire

Detroit firefighter injured in vacant apartment building fire

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DETROIT (WJBK) - A Detroit firefighter was injured when he fell through the floor of the second story at a vacant apartment near Henry Ford Hospital Monday morning. His fellow firefighter had tried to alert him of danger.

"With the noise, the fans, the fire, stretching the line he didn't hear the warnings and it was too late. He took one step and that was it," says Chief Eugene Biondo.

He says that firefighter is going to be okay but there are so many arsons in the area his firefighters can't catch a break. They left this scene at Sterling and Ferry Park for another arson at another apartment building on Buena Vista.

"What would I have to say to the arsonist? I don't really care. There's a person that doesn't care about life. We have nothing to say to them. They don't care anyways. This is what they do for excitement," says Biondo.

A former resident at the building Larry Birchfield tells Fox 2's Amy Lange he is upset with what's happened.

"It's sad. It's truly, truly sad because it was really a very, very beautiful building," Birchfield says.

But it is now just part of so much blight in this neighborhood and some of it's owned by the hospital.

Birchfield says this isn't the only apartment building that Henry Ford Hospital owns in this neighborhood. The other one is even in worse shape. At that building, you can see no roof and broken windows, some of which are boarded up.

A hospital spokesman says Henry Ford acquired this property on Sterling in 2011 in this condition and plans to refurbish both apartment buildings as part of its redevelopment district.

The hospital owns many buildings in the neighborhood but has no time frame for this redevelopment.

"It's a downright disgrace, a total disgrace," Birchfield says.

The buildings are not just eyesores but dangerous buildings that are beacons for arsonists, further taxing the overburdened Detroit Fire Department. The firefighters are already facing serious cuts to salaries and healthcare benefits in the bankruptcy in addition to fighting fires and the city's arsonists.

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