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Winds push fires through dozens of Detroit homes

Winds push fires through dozens of Detroit homes

Wind-whipped flames swept through at least three Detroit neighborhoods, destroying dozens of homes, including many that were vacant, and even sending waves of searing heat blocks away, officials said.
A thick odor of smoke filled the air Wednesday after the roaring fires, fanned by winds of up to 80 kph (50 mph), jumped from house to house Tuesday night. No injuries were reported.
There were about 85 fires at homes and garages over a four-hour period, said Dan Lijana, spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing.
Bing, at a news conference later Wednesday, said firefighters confronted conditions "that were not manmade" starting Tuesday afternoon. When pressed on whether the fire department was adequately staffed, Bing sidestepped the question and pointed out that no one was killed.
"A natural disaster - (that's) what this was," he said at a news conference. "You just cannot plan for that."
Fire Commissioner James Mack told reporters the city has about 500 firefighters, about 20 fewer than last year. He said the 236 firefighters on duty Tuesday was typical, and that on any given day there are usually 35 fires in the city.
Firefighters from a half-dozen neighboring agencies assisted the Detroit fire department. If he could do anything different, Mack said he might have called for help from the suburbs a little sooner.
The National Weather Service said a cold front passed through Detroit with no rain, which is unusual.
"The really dry air along with high wind - that would have been favorable for a fire to spread," meteorologist Bryan Tilley said.


Updated : 2021-05-09 16:39 GMT+08:00