85% of arson fires that occur daily in Detroit occur in vacant homes

The Detroit Fire Department (DFD) is the paid, professional fire department that provides fire protection and emergency medical services to the city of Detroit, Michigan, United States. The DFD currently operates 59 fire companies out of 43 Fire Stations, located throughout the city, with a total sworn personnel complement of 830 firefighters in all ranks. The Detroit Fire Headquarters used to be located on Larned Street in Downtown Detroit. On July 8, 2013 the headquarters moved to a joined Public Safety Headquarters on 3rd street. The building, a former MGM Grand Casino will host Fire, Police, EMS and additional services.

The Detroit Fire Department responds to approximately 165,000 emergency calls annually, with over 80% being medical emergencies.


The Detroit Fire Department is currently led by Fire Commissioner Donald R. Austin, a former member of the Los Angeles Fire Department and a Detroit native. The current Chief of Department is Craig Dougherty, a former member of Engine 50 on the city’s East Side.


The City of Detroit has to cope with an enormous fire load, due to numerous vacant buildings throughout the city. Combined with the economic situation this results in many arson fires on a daily basis. During 2011, the DFD responded to over 9,000 working structural fires. Over 95% of the structural fires the DFD faces are caused by arson, fifty times the national average for arson-related fires. About 85% of the arson fires that occur daily in Detroit occur in vacant homes. There are no accurate statistics considering the arson rates in Detroit, due to the fact that only a fraction of the fires can be investigated with the highly understaffed arson unit. Only investigated fire scenes can be ruled arson. The others just remain “suspicious” fires.