Michigan Fire Fighters Union demands Benton Harbor Fire Department be fully restored

The Michigan Fire Fighters Union is calling for action, after a Benton Harbor Firefighter was severely burned last month.

Lieutenant Doug Bell is making a slow recovery at the burn unit in Kalamazoo.

The union claims he didn't receive the back-up he needed when he was trapped in a burning house March 14th.

Several union representatives from the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union gathered in front of 1034 Jennings Avenue in Benton Harbor.

It's now a condemned house and the scene of an investigation of what happened to Lt. Doug Bell. Dispatch reports show he was trapped in a burning garage and calling for back-up when he was severely injured.

It wasn't until three neighbors called 911 that help finally arrived after they saw Bell's burns.

Meanwhile the public safety director says if there had been twenty officers on the scene Bell would have still been burned.

The union is calling the public safety department a failure with too many officers and residents at risk.

“Our firefighter was trapped in that garage. Our firefighter was screaming for help to two P.S.O. officers that were not at the house. They were at the engine,” says Mark Docherty, President of the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union.

By Michigan's OSHA standards at least 4 people must respond to a fire. There's debate as to whether there were even four people called to the fire where Bell was injured.

The state union is demanding that the Benton Harbor Fire Department be fully restored to twelve full time firefighters instead of the three that are on staff right.


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