The controversy photo that surrounds a group of Detroit firefighters smiling in front of a burning house

The controversy photo that surrounds a group of Detroit firefighters smiling in front of a burning house
The 18 members of the Detroit fire department, posing smiling while the house burns behind them (Photo: Twitter)

The firefighters are tireless workers who risk their lives for others and they are appreciated wherever they go for their courage. We have seen them applaud from dozens of places where they have provided their services and their courage is beyond doubt. However, the controversy surrounds a group of Detroit firefighters because of a photo.

Everything happened on New Year’s Eve: a call alerted firefighters of a fire in a home and a detachment was sent to the scene. From that moment the versions vary: according to the firemen, the house was empty and the flames were so strong that nothing could be done. According to the owners, none of the firemen did absolutely nothing to save the house.

What they did was pose smiling in front of the house and then upload that image to social networks. It was the only thing needed to metaphorically burn the network: although they deleted the post a few minutes later, the photograph began to circulate among users’ disqualifiers, who did not understand those smiles and their lack of professionalism.

The reason, a farewell

Dave Fornell, deputy director of the Detroit firefighting service, explained to the New York Post that “the director, who is located in the center of the picture, was retiring and I think they wanted to do this as a souvenir although, unfortunately, they didn’t be nothing professional”. He also says that there was no one inside the house, that it was an empty building and that they were dedicated to preventing the fire from spreading to other homes.

The family says that the house was not abandoned, but was being renovated to adapt it to the mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

However, neighbours think differently. The owners of the house, the Higginbotham family, explain that the only reason it was empty is that they were renovating it. Deonte Higginbotham, 21, says “we are furious. They just let it burn to the ground … There were eighteen men and none of them did anything. They should all be fired”.

Deonte’s mother, Dorothy, is 70 years old and suffers from Alzheimer’s, so they have not told her anything about the fire: “She is really sick right now. We were trying to reform the house to accommodate her illness. Now, she will stay with the family in another part of Detroit”. Although no measures have been taken so far, the authorities do not rule out opening an investigation into what happened.