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Detroit reporter Charlie LeDuff at it again. Finds donated tower unused & Highland Park's mayor begging for it.

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Detroit accepts 1983 tower ladder story on man trying to donate 1983 tower ladder

WJBK-TV reporter Charlie LeDuff is back on the case of the Detroit Fire Department and says it is still in bad shape with little hope on the horizon.

At the same time, LeDuff is asking what ever happened to the big green fire truck? That’s the 1983 tower ladder that was donated to the City of Detroit by a Michigan man. The fire department sort of reluctantly accepted it back in September of last year. LeDuff discovered, despite a claim by Commissioner Donald Austin that it could be up and running in a month, the department had no intention of using it. The rig is sitting in the shop.

But LeDuff has found someone who wants that truck rather desperately. He is the mayor of nearby Highland Park whose department is in even worse shape than the Detroit Fire Department. We have been showing you videos recently of the understaffed and under equipped Highland Park Fire Department (here & here).

Here’s more from LeDuff’s story:

“I would ask the mayor of Detroit, Mayor Bing, to bring that fire truck here to Highland Park because we definitely need it,” says Mayor Deandre Windom.  “Please, please, please, please, bring the fire truck here to Highland Park.”

The mayor says he called Detroit, but nobody would call him back.

Well, Mayor Bing didn’t return my call. Deputy Commissioner Fred Wheeler didn’t return my call. I’m starting to feel like the mayor of Highland Park.

For the love of god, free the big green fire truck for the sake of somebody’s children!  

Do you want to sell a rig? Click HERE to find out how with


Comments - Add Yours

  • Former Chief

    Amazing. I guess I just don’t get it. After almost 37 years in the fire service, and being involved in local, County, and State government, I guess I just don’t understand how complicated it is to fix fire trucks. Idiots.

  • Annonymous2

    I really, really dislike his reporting method. Seems extremely gimmicky. Doubt he actually cares about what happens to the truck, just wants to make the city look bad to gain ratings.

    • Dave

      Yes, it’s too bad there isn’t anything the city of Detroit could do to prevent this reporter from taking advantage of them like that.

    • Brian

      who cares how he does it. Its being put out there for the citizens to make up their own minds about it. I would LOVE that dude to come to DC and work for Fox5 (sorry Dave but thats his channel)Maybe then Grey and his puppets would have to explain what they are doing and not be able to just wait things out and let the media move on to other things. This guy is steadfast and on point with the FD.
      God bless him is all I can say.

      • dave statter

        I have friends at all of the stations. No need to apologize Brian. Charlie is something. I think they still don’t get how to deal with his style of reporting in Detroit. I also think LeDuff may be a little misguided on a few points that could possibly be corrected if there was good communications coming from the city.


  • Stuart

    Charlie LeDuff is terrific.

  • scba272

    Hey Mayor, time served, so release that Green 100 to a company that will use it

  • Ritt

    Please, please, please pleeeease – The Mayor of Highland Park is channeling James Brown.

  • Former Chief

    And just to add insult to injury, follow the link for another example of idiocy in Detroit.

  • John

    I would normally not take Detroit’s side in anything, but this one is ridiculous. They told the guy they didn’t want the rig, and they only took it due to media pressure. They don’t have money to waste on this truck.

    The rig does not fit in DFD’s firehouses-they use Sutphen midmount towers for a reason. It has no spares and parts are hard to come by. It wouldn’t last for a week in the city. Spend what money they have on rigs they specced and need repair.

    • dave statter


      I don’t disagree with you on this. But it’s a good lesson of dealing with it directly and honestly from the start. The department should have defended a defensible position on why the truck wouldn’t work and stuck to their guns. Instead they gave in, said they were going to use it, while all along knowing they weren’t.

      I have been waiting for this story because I figured something like this happened (and I hadn’t seen the rig in any of the Detroit videos or pictures I have seen for the past year).


    • Former Chief

      John, Detroit also uses rear mount Pierce ladders. Now I don’t know if the Pierces are as high as the donated truck, but like Dave said, all they have to say is that the donated truck will not fit in their firehouses. But that better be accurate, or Charlie LeDuff will prove them wrong. And, why doesn’t someone in Detroit answer their phone!? Apparently, Highland Park is more than willing to take the truck and put it to work. I’m sorry but there is no way to defend the actions of the Detroit administration.

  • Steve in NJ

    Love it Charlie. Keep it up. Love it!!

  • Brokenhearted

    How the story in Detroit isn’t being cried out about in outrage is beyond me. The amount of fire they’re running on a daily basis is beyond what’s believable. It’s hard to make civilians even understand what they’re going through. How do you equate the amount of fire they’re running?

    Imagine if an NFL game was 200 quarters long.
    Imagine if a Nascar race lasted 7 days.
    Imagine if a burger at McDonalds was 400 dollars?

    I just can’t figure out how to make people understand how ridiculous it is in Detroit right now, and how the Fire Service isn’t banding together to get these guys some help is unreal.

    Something’s gotta be done to help these guys.

    “Busy” City Fireman

    PS. Charlie LeDuff is trying!

  • Johnny Awesome

    There is a Detroit in just about every state. Hats off to the FF’s that have to put in real work for low pay and still put up with the BS from city leaders….

  • Brokenhearted

    There is not a Detroit in every state. PERIOD.

    No time in the history of the fire service has one Fire Department been called upon to put out this many fires a year. EVER.

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