A number of Detroit firefighters were feeling celebratory and decided to take a group photo on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, their choice of setting was not appreciated by many who saw the picture.
The picture showed the group of firefighters posed in front of a burning building. This drew criticism from the public, many who found the picture to be in bad taste.
Eric Jones, the Detroit Fire Commissioner, spoke to CBS News, stating that the department would be launching an investigation into the controversial picture. He said, "There are a lot of ways to celebrate a retirement. Taking a photo in front of a building fire is not one of them. We will investigate this matter and follow the facts where they lead us. If this photo is verified, discipline will be in order."
The picture was uploaded on a Facebook page called the Detroit Fire Incidents. The post was put up just before midnight, and was captioned "Crews take a moment to get a selfie on New Years!" However, the picture was soon taken down at the request of some of the firefighters who were afraid that they would lose their jobs.
However, a Detroit-based reporter uploaded before and after photos of the building engulfed in flames. The second picture showed the house completely destroyed and charred after the fire.
Speaking to Detroit News, Jones stated, "Ninety-nine percent of the men and women who go to a scene like that and know what to do. Behind every fire is a devastated family or property owner."
According to a fire official, the burning house had been empty at the time of the fire, and had been ruled too dangerous for firefighters to go in. He added that the selfie taken by the firefighters was in celebration of a battalion chief who was retiring from the department.