November 13, 2013
This is David Allen’s second visit to Engine 40′s fire station on
Detroit’s west side since February 2012 when a wall collapsed on him
during a fire leaving him unable to walk without an aide. Last time he
was here to clean out his locker. This time, as Detroit careens towards
bankruptcy, he is back to talk with colleagues about their prospects.
Detroit’s firefighters are used to danger and loss. The crew laugh
and rib each other and Allen as they get ready to eat. But this time
they are facing something other than fire. Beneath the camaraderie there
is anger and fear.
Allen and his colleagues are among 30,000 Detroit city workers, past
and present, who are about to learn what will happen to their pensions
and healthcare if the city is allowed to file for a historic bankruptcy
– the largest of its kind in history.