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Detroit battalion chief arrested for allegedly drunk driving on duty

Officials say the battalion chief was responding to call in a department SUV when the vehicle crashed

Update March 2, 2021, 3:12 p.m.: Detroit officials confirmed the battalion chief accused of driving a fire department vehicle while intoxicated and then crashing on duty was arrested early Monday morning, according to the Detroit Free Press. A drug and alcohol screening reportedly showed that the battalion chief’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit at the time of the crash, though the exact level was not disclosed.

“This isn’t reflective of the men and women of the Detroit Fire Department, over 99.9% of them come in everyday, jeopardize their health and safety to save lives and property. Although we’ve had these two incidents in the past week, it still is not reflective of the vast majority of the men and women of the (fire department),” Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said in a statement, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Although our members are heroes and they do jeopardize their lives to save the lives of others, that does not give them the right to commit illegal acts such as consuming alcohol while on duty and driving.”

Original report:

Miriam Marini
Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — A battalion chief with the Detroit Fire Department is under investigation for driving a department vehicle while intoxicated early Monday.

At about 1:15 a.m. Monday, the chief lost control and crashed while en route to an emergency, Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said. The incident is under investigation.

Images from Fox 2 Detroit show a Detroit Fire Department SUV had crashed through a wire fence with its front tires hanging over the barrier separating a grassy hill from the John Lodge Freeway.

This is the second incident of drunk driving with the department within a week. On Feb. 21, a Detroit firefighter crashed into a woman’s parked car while responding to an emergency after he left a dinner party at the Engine 50 building on Houston Whittier Street. His blood-alcohol level was said to be more than the legal limit.

On Tuesday, the fire department will be laying out a plan to take a “deep dive to look at why some individuals think it’s OK to drink alcohol on duty,” Fox 2 reports.

The department’s punishment for alcohol consumption while on duty is termination.

More details on Monday’s incident are set to be released by Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones.


(c)2021 the Detroit Free Press