Items stolen from two Detroit firehouses - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Items stolen from two Detroit firehouses

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Detroit firefighters' union president Dan McNamara says televisions were stolen from Engine 49 and that thieves tried to take the plumbing and hot water heater.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Detroit firefighters' union president Dan McNamara says televisions were stolen from Engine 49 and that thieves tried to take the plumbing and hot water heater. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Engine 49 is one of several firehouses closed as the City of Detroit pinches pennies, but while it sits empty, thieves are breaking in.

Friday evening, we found the doors closed at Engine 49.  At first glance, the place looks pretty secure.  The building is surrounded by a fence with razor-sharp barbed wiring, but it isn't enough to keep the crooks out.

We've learned over the past week, this station house has been broken into several times.  You can see where the thieves cut a hole in the fence and the protective wiring on a ground floor window to gain access.

"We've lost all our televisions, everything we bought, and they tried to take the hot water heater and the plumbing out, too.  Everything brass and copper," said Dan McNamara.

He is president of the Detroit firefighters' union.

"It's unbelievable that people would break into firehouses and steal everything that they can get, but what it means to the civilians is if it gets broken into and we can't go back in that, we've got to go to somewhere else and we're going to be further away from where we should be."

Outside Engine House 33 in southwest Detroit, area residents held signs in protest Friday upset at what closing the doors there will mean to the area.

"I think it's a real big hazard if they close this fire station because the closest one's too far.  By the time they even get the call, I think that houses are going to be burnt down and gone," said Matthew Reynolds.

"The houses are too close together.  One goes, they're all going to go, so we need all the help we can get," said Daniel Hufford.

While the latest round of cutbacks isn't calling for any one station house to be closed on a permanent basis, the department is operating under brownout conditions, which means a firehouse may be open one day, but closed the next few.

The Lawndale Market sits a few doors down from Engine 33.  Henry Simpson is taking preventive steps to keep the store from catching fire.

"Keeping the air conditioning cooled down and all that so they don't catch on fire and that up there," he said.  "If we get a fire, we [aren't] going to have [anyone] here."

Simspon has lived in his southwest Detroit neighborhood all his life.  He knows when the firefighters leave, the crooks are going to be moving in.

"If they go, they're going to strip that fire station, all these thieves around here."

It's also happening on Detroit's east side at Engine 46.  Items have been reported stolen, including an outside grill.

Detroit police have been asked to make extra patrols around the empty firehouses, but they can't stand guard 24 hours a day.

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