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Detroit EMS report blasts fire battalion chief, accusing him of mishandling large amount of fentanyl

Jan 23, 2024

Shawn Ley, Reporter

Brandon Carr, Digital Content Producer

DETROIT – A Detroit EMS report has blasted a fire battalion chief by accusing him of mishandling a high-risk situation.

Local 4 repeatedly heard how coming in contact with even a small amount of fentanyl can be deadly.

First responders were taught to take the strictest precautions around it. But some don't feel those rules were followed earlier this week when a large amount of fentanyl was recovered in a home on Kentucky and Eaton streets on the city's west side.

On Wednesday (June 7), the chief in charge of that scene was accused of putting first responders in danger.

The issue was that the chief told medics and experts in emergency management with Narcan to wait down the street from the home, where they watched first responders gear up and go in.

In an internal report, one medic said a mistake put those going after that fentanyl in danger.

Local 4 was told that the home had so much deadly fentanyl found that the city had to shut the house down, slapping a sign that reads toxic right on it.

Radio dispatch revealed the deadly danger was so great that the battalion chief at the scene had fire crews park down the block for their safety.

"Have engine 40 stage a block away and wait for hazmat," said radio dispatch.

Hazardous materials crews from Michigan State Police and the Detroit Fire Department put on personal protective gear.

The DEA warned first responders that by touching just a few grains of fentanyl could threaten the life of the person coming in contact with it.

A neighbor knew how dangerous of a situation this was.

"It was a pretty scary situation at the time," said the neighbor. "

But Detroit EMS with Narcan was ordered by that battalion chief to wait on the corner instead of being by the house.

An EMS captain spoke up, saying the chief disrespected him. He said in the report:

"There should have been no entry without a rescue plan in place."

The EMS captain says medics should have been close with Narcan and other life-saving gear, but "None of this occurred on this scene, and chief one dismissed me."

"We’re going to have to have training on this," said Detroit Fire Commissioner Chuck Simms. "I believe that could have been closer it could have been closer to the house in case of a rescue."

The report goes on to state the battalion chief's actions were unbecoming of an officer and dangerous.

"I wouldn't say dangerous," Simms said. "The men and women on the Detroit Fire Department will not put members or coworkers in danger. We would need an investigation if there was disrespect. We need to act accordingly."

Simms told Local 4 that the fentanyl incident was handled with no one getting hurt.

He said that Narcan should have been closer And more training for that battalion chief should take place.

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