Minneapolis firefighters openly criticize their departments’ response to a week-long unrest and flames in the city after George Floyd’s death while the police were in custody.
The fact that Chief John Fruetel did not activate out-of-duty firefighters or call for big reinforcements while relying on mobile teams has been a special source of ire from the members of Minneapolis’s firefighter association, According to a report in Star Tribune.
“There were a few nights when some engines were not running, and I know that fires are burning,” said the union’s president, Mark Lakosky.
“How many buildings do you need to burn before calling people and running every piece of equipment you have?”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey stated that the city’s fire department did not properly respond to calls made for at least four days after the riots began – but sometimes blamed the insufficient response to concerns about the safety of the first intervention during violent protests.
“The delays were not the lack of firefighting capacity, but the presence of insufficient law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of firefighters before the arrival of the National Guard,” said Frey.
Chief Freutel was tasked by local firefighters to issue orders from the city’s referral center, as he decided to stay on the ground during the worst hours of unrest. In a remarkable moment, he was alive on the phone CNN’s Don Lemon flared up as the Third Police District building in Minneapolis.
Fruetel said on his behalf that he was proud of his department’s work at a difficult time in the city’s history and did not think Minneapolis needed help from other departments.
“Some people had time to prepare something in their community because they watched what was going on in Minneapolis,” Freutel said. “We didn’t have this advantage.”
Star Tribune reported that firefighters damaged at least 69 fires between 27 May and 31 May, while more than 100 buildings were damaged.
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