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responding to a fire at the fisher body plant

Detroit Firefighter Injured During 40ft Fall While Fighting Fire at the Fisher Body plant

A Detroit firefighter is in stable condition after he fell from an aerial bucket Wednesday morning while battling a fire at the old Fisher Body plant.

Ladder 7 firefighter Nicholas Benskey was pulled away from the debris, put on a stretcher and taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital.

“He initially was knocked unconscious. After a bit, he came to,” said Second Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Dougherty. “He knew who he was and where he was.”

Benskey, who is married and a father of four, has been with the department for 10 years.

Fire Chief John King said investigators are still working to find out what led to the fall.

“We have belts on there to secure you in place,” King said — but he declined to answer whether he knew if Benskey was wearing one.

Crews initially responded about 4:30 a.m. to extinguish a fire and they returned to the scene around 7:30 a.m. when the fire rekindled.

The plant is near I-75 and I-94.

The audio above from firefighterdispatch is from the fire this (Wednesday) morning at the Fisher Body plant in Detroit that injured Firefighter Nicholas Benskey, who jumped from the bucket of the tower ladder as a portion of the building collapsed.

At 5:39 you hear someone radio to the bucket to back up and then the messages get more urgent. This is followed by the firefighter on the radio saying “Don’t jump!” The next transmission is for EMS to come to the scene.

Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Dougherty told reporters this morning, “Part of the building started to collapse. It appears that one of the firefighters then jumped out of the bucket.” Indications are the Firefighter Benskey dropped about 30 feet. A second firefighter in the bucket of the tower ladder was not injured.

Wednesday evening WJBK-TV reported the following on Firefighter Benskey’s condition:

(UPDATE) Benskey’s wife, Robin, posted an update on her Facebook page tonight. She wrote:

“Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers! God was watching out for Nick today because he is very lucky to be alive. He is doing as good as can be expected.

“He is in a lot of pain, he has 4 broken ribs and a punctured lung. But he is in good spirits, has had many guys from the fire department come visit and make him smile.

“He can’t wait to go home but knows he needs the rest and won’t get that at the zoo we love in. Keep the prayers up, they are doing a world of good! Love to everyone!

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Two firefighters were in the bucket near a southeast corner of the building when it started to collapse. One of the firefighters, in his 30s, jumped out of the bucket to safety and fell about 40 feet.

“It appeared, at the time, a portion of the building was coming directly at the ladder,” said Second Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Dougherty with the Detroit Fire Department.

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Robert Allen, Detroit Free Press:

“He initially was knocked unconscious,” said second deputy Detroit fire commissioner Craig Dougherty. “After a bit, he came to and he knew who he was, and he knew where he was.”

The firefighter, who has about 10 years of experience, was in the bucket with another firefighter, spraying flames into the second floor on the southeast side of the plant, Dougherty said. The second firefighter remained in the bucket and was uninjured, he said.

MI Detroit firefighter falls 4 10-22-14

WJBK-TV:

Dougherty says Benskey was initially knocked unconscious but has since came to and was aware of who he was. Benskey is said to be in stable condition. 

Benskey is 35 years old, has been on the job for 10 years and just graduated nursing school. 

A second firefighter was also in the bucket. That firefighter was not injured.

MI Detroit firefighter falls 3 10-22-14

WJBK-TV image.

WWJ Radio:

“He’s a great firefighter, a young guy, probably got about 10 years on the job now,” Second Fire Commissioner Craig Dougherty said.

Fire Chief Stanley Davis said a counselor will be on hand for the rest of the day to talk things over with the crew.

“Just for the guys to talk, to be able to express any concerns or anything like that. It’s like family members. Anytime one of your family members is hurt, everybody hurts,” he said.

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detroit real estate blight homes

Detroit Real Estate: Super Blowout Sale! $3 Million For 6,000 Homes

Three million dollars can barely buy a new townhouse in Brooklyn these days, but it could be enough to purchase a bundle of more than 6,000 foreclosures up for auction in Detroit.

The cost of dealing with the many blighted buildings included in the Detroit mega-auction means a $3.2 million bid received last week—roughly the minimum allowable bid of $500 per property—will likely prove too high to turn a profit. “I can’t imagine that you are going to make money on this,” says David Szymanski, chief deputy treasurer of Wayne County, which is selling the properties.

So it’s all the more mysterious that the auction, opened with little fanfare earlier this month, has attracted any bidder at all. Still, at least one unidentified party is willing to pay $3.2 million take control—and responsibility—for scores of dilapidated homes. In fact, winning the bid could cost the lucky winner a small fortune beyond the auction price.
Story: Can Detroit Keep Empty Lots From Becoming Eyesores Again?

Finding a way to deal with Detroit’s blight is critical for the city’s future. A task force has already called for immediately tearing down 10 percent of all structures. The group surveyed the condition of every Detroit property and identified neighborhoods at a tipping point at which stripping them of blight could keep certain areas from slipping away entirely.

“I had cancer 12 years ago, and this is exactly like cancer,” Szymanski says. “If you don’t get it all, it’s going to come back.”

Wayne County has become a major owner of blighted properties, which it can seize when owners fall behind on taxes. The scale of its distressed holdings is unprecedented. When Szymanski joined the treasurer’s office four years ago, he called the treasurer of Cuyahoga County in Ohio to compare notes. His counterpart, whose domain includes Cleveland and was a bellwether during the housing crisis, asked: “Are you sitting down? We are foreclosing on 4,500 properties.” Szymanski says he replied: “I hope you’re laying down.” At the time, Wayne County had 42,000 properties in foreclosure.

buy these homes in real estate blowout sale

The numbers have become only more staggering. This year alone, Wayne County has started foreclosure proceedings on 56,000 properties, with about 20,000 of them headed for auction. In 2015 county officials expect to foreclose on an additional 75,000 parcels.

In the past, these have been sold off individually or in small batches. That method didn’t always go well. More than three-quarters of the buyers soon fell behind on taxes, starting the cycle all over again. In 2011, as the Detroit News reported, some buyers were falling behind on taxes and going through foreclosures, only to repurchase their former properties—now cleansed of the back taxes. The county has since changed the rules.

Discussion among county and city officials about trying a bulk sale of Detroit’s least-desirable real estate never yielded results until after Detroit’s current mayor, Mike Duggan, was elected in 2013. But before the properties can be transferred to the city, which can offer them at lower prices, the law requires a county-level auction.
Story: A Call to Tear Down 10 Percent of Detroit’s Buildings, Right Now

“The idea was that no one would buy it,” Szymanski explains, so they would pass on to the city to handle. A closer look at the so-called blight bundle (PDF) created for the auction makes it clear why that auction is no bargain. The parcel includes roughly 3,000 properties that need to be torn down, plus some 2,000 empty lots, plus about 1,000 homes that are believed to hold some value. Everything is sold as is: The homes may lack furnaces or wiring and they may come with mold, tenants, or both.

To top it off, a condition of the auction requires the buyer to demolish the rundown buildings within six months—something Szymanski estimates will cost about $24 million.

Yet someone actually wants to buy the whole blight bundle. A single qualified bidder—Szymanski can’t reveal any details because the auction is still open—came forward and cleared the minimum bid. “It could be—and this is all speculation—that the people who are bidding on it are altruistic in nature,” Szymanski hints. He believes he has already met representatives of the group behind the $3.2 million offer, but he can’t say for sure.

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Dog Attack Costs Detroit Man His Hands And Feet

A Detroit man is in critical condition after a pack of dogs mauled him on the east side Thursday evening.

Police said the attack was so vicious that the man lost his hands and feet, the Free Press reports.

The man, age 40 to 50, was attacked after at least five pit bulls escaped a house on the 4500 block of Pennsylvania. When police arrived, the man was naked and pinned on his back as the dogs mauled him.

Police shot at the dogs and killed one of them. The rest of the dogs were lured into their home.

Police returned this morning and found about 13 dogs, including puppies. All appeared to be pit bulls, police said.

The mauling remains under investigation, and the owner has been questioned.

The victim is being treated at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

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map showing the racial segregation of detroit michigan

Detroit is the Most Segregated City in the US, According to the 2010 Census

I recently read an article on the most segregated cities in the United States, and guess what? Detroit was number one. Not too surprising. If you’ve ever driven across 8 Mile you’d know. Or, cross Alter or Mack road from Grosse Pointe into Detroit. There are several youtube videos that show the stark contrast of the Detroit/Grosse Point Border… multi-million dollar mansions on one side, crack houses on the other. Search wiki for “Alter Rd”… they refer to it as somewhat of a “Berlin Wall” separating communities. The point is, when you cross into Detroit, you know it. Segregation apparently has not changed much in the last several decades according to reports from the 2010 US Census.

The map measured segregation in major cities with a dissimilarity index, which identifies the percentage of one group that would have to move to a different neighborhood to eliminate segregation. A score above 60 on the dissimilarity index is considered extreme.

The 21 most segregated cities in the US are as follows:

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Here’s a picture of Detroit’s segregation map. I drew a general outline around the border of Detroit so the map makes more sense to you out-of-towners.

detroit segregation map

And here’s another map taken from google maps showing the actual borders of Detroit.

Detroit City Map

You can read the complete Census report on segregation here: http://www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/Data/Report/report2.pdf

I found it kind of funny that in the report, they actually referred to cities in the Northeast and Midwest as the “Ghetto Belt” because of their unusually high black-white segregation numbers. So there’s a new term for ya… now you can say you live in the Ghetto Belt!

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