Stretching on 3 dwellings

Posted: April 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

Last night, Detroit had a rash of arson fires (more than usual), and Blake Arnold captured this footage of first arriving companies at Senator and Beard.


What is a hero worth?

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Nicole Apel is the wife of Detroit Firefighter Jerry Apel, assigned to Engine 9. It’s often been said that a firefighter’s wife is more of a hero than we could ever hope to be. The spouse of a firefighter holds down the homefront while their hero of a soulmate risks his life for others. They attend events alone, serve holiday dinners with an empty chair, worry endlessly when the news reports injured or killed firemen but don’t release names, and support a tired and emotionally weary firefighter when he or she gets off shift. To the spouses of firefighters, police officers, EMT’s, and military personnel, thank you! 

What is the value of a hero to you? What is the value of the hero that will come to your aid in the middle of the night? What is the value of the hero who will save your home and most prized possessions? What is the value of the hero who carefully cuts your loved one out of a severe car wreck? What is the value of a hero who will risk his life to run into a burning building to save your children?

The value of that hero is very very high for me. The reason is that 9 days a month that hero leaves his family for 24 hours a day for you. My children and I give up our most prized possession — my husband and their daddy — so he can go out and risk his life to save yours.

It seems to me that society’s value of this hero is diminishing. September 11th was not that long ago. Those men did a job that they did not have to do that day. They risked their lives to go up many floors to save as many lives as they could, many never making it back out again. The men I have met who work here in our state have that same mentality. They know what their job description is and that it may come to the point to making a decision to go in and attempt to save a life at the risk of their own. I know with all my heart that most would choose to try and save you if they felt they could, just as they did on September 11th. Please don’t forget their courage. I promise you that it still lives in the hearts of these men.


I live a very modest life. I have a modest mortgage, one car payment, no credit card debt and shop for groceries strictly with coupons. We vacation with our camper that we bought with a small savings. My kids have never flown in a plane or stayed in a hotel. My husband has never been paid great, but with my job we were able to pay our bills with a little extra for fun money so we could do things with our kids.


Recently the city has shown me just how much they value my hero. They applied to the government for a very large sum of money to help the pay the public safety officers wages, and they were granted the money. Shortly after receiving the money from the federal government, the city cut firefighter’s pay by 10 percent. They next pay period they decided to raise our health insurance costs so that our pay cut reflected close to 20 percent. I understand just as well as the next person that the economy isn’t good. My job has been severely affected also. I understand that things need to be cut but this is the problem: A firefighter with a wife and 3 children now qualifies for food stamps. What?! Is the man I send away for 24 hours at a time to run into burning buildings and to save your life worth so little that his income should qualify for food stamps? My hero husband has now had to start working 3 separate jobs to keep the bills paid and food in our kids tummies. How would you feel if you sent such a precious person in your life out every day he worked to do a job where he is risking his own life for others? Someday my husband might not come home. Some day I could receive that call that he has been hurt. I could lose my soul mate, and my kids could lose their daddy, because all he ever wanted to do was save yours. He is passionate about what he does, and I have never met a man who absolutely loves what he does more than he. We often talk about him leaving this career because he could make so much more doing something else, but he would die. His heart is so caring and compassionate that he would never be the man I married in another profession. He reflects his love for people in his everyday life and on a daily basis I am taken aback by his kindness to human kind. He gives up so much for you, holidays, Christmas morning, school events and tucking his kids in at night.

All I ask is for society to see what these men do and how much they are willing to lay on the line to do so. When you see one thank them. Support them. Fight for them. Fight for what they do every day, it matters. Fight against the manner in which these men have been treated for the last decade. Appreciate what they do and if ever you have the chance, fight for the hope that they will at least make a decent living for a decent days work. I pray you all never need the help of my husband or his coworkers, but if you do, I know that he will do whatever in his power to save you and all your loved ones.
Published with permission. (C) 2012 by Nicole Apel.

BURN Documentary Update

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

There have been an insane amount of questions regarding BURN on our Facebook page, so I thought it’d be a good idea to answer them here on the website.

Where’s the DVD? The main play DVD has not been released yet, but the filmmakers are aiming for a spring 2013 release. What is available, at this time, is an 80 minute film of fire footage that didn’t make it into the finished movie. For $20, you can order it at BURN’s online store

Where can I see the film? BURN will be playing in Livonia, Sterling Heights, Chicago, and Washington, DC for one week, December 7th through the 13th. You can get tickets here. At this time, those are the only upcoming screenings, and we’ll update you as more are added. If you want to request a screening, fill out this form.

Of course, they’re still raising money and every little bit helps to get BURN into more theaters. It shouldn’t be long before it is released nationwide and comes to your city. Here’s the link to donate:

Thanks for everyone’s support with this film. Detroit Firehouse is not officially affiliated with BURN in any way, but this is an important documentary — not just for Detroit fire fighters, but for the fire service around the nation. 

– Dan Miller

On January 6, 2012, approximately 2200 hours, Detroit Central Office stilled Engine 54 and Ladder 26 to Lahser and Fenkell to check for a dwelling fire. While en route to the location, E-54 and L-26 were alerted that Central would be dispatching the box alarm assignment (E-57 E-53 S-1 C-4) to the location on reports of a dwelling fire at Greydale and Keeler.

On arrival, E-54 reported a single family dwelling going throughout and stretched their bundle and a 2 1/2″ handline. L-26 assumed incident command until Chief 4 arrived. When E-57 arrived, they dumped their monitor on the dwelling fire. Companies made quick work of this blaze and were in service by 2315 hours.

Below is a short video of the incident, and photos can be found at

Firefighter Robert Gasaway, III - Photo: Fox 2 News

Photo: Fox 2 News

A three-year old girl trapped inside a burning home has been released from the hospital and is thanking the men who helped get her out.

Tonight, Mercedes Mitchell got to meet the very firefighters who saved her life. It was a touching moment for everyone involved. – Fox 2 News

Firefighter Robert Gasaway doesn’t take all the credit for the rescue on Lauder last week, but he certainly deserves a fair amount of it. He was the firefighter who found 3-year-old Mercedes after her home caught on fire, trapping the little girl. In this interview with Alexis Wiley, Gasaway meets the mother of the girl he saved, and reflects on that day. In the end, a family lost their home and all their possessions; but they have their daughter, and that’s all that matters now. Here’s the video and story

On Saturday, November 20, 2011 around 8:00 pm, Central Office dispatched Engine 34, Engine 10, Engine 27, Ladder 22, Squad 4, and Battalion Chief 7 to 31st and Buchanan for a reported dwelling fire. Engine 34 arrived first and reported a dwelling, going throughout, and transmitted that Engine 34 would be stretching. Additional arriving companies prepared for tower operations with Ladder 22 and a defensive attack was commenced. Chief 7 had incident command and maintained the defensive posture on this 2-story wood frame dwelling.