DETOIT — A firefighter claimed that more than half of the SCBAs at the Detroit Fire Department haven’t had a hydrostatic test since 2008 and could be dangerous.
FOX2Detroit reported that firefighter Bill Harp filed a complaint after firefighters discovered their breathing apparatus were non-compliant.
"We put on these air tanks and we rush into burning buildings, these bottles are all we have between our own life and death," Sgt. Bill Harp said.
Federal law requires the tanks to be tested every five years to reveal if there are any flaws in the casings, because the compressed gas can cause the tanks to explode.
In response to the issue, Executive Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins issued this statement:
"Making sure firefighters have a sufficient air supply in the event that they are ever trapped in a fire is one of our highest priorities. That’s why the department is in process of replacing all 420 of its 30-minute air bottles with 800 new 45-minute ones. The first 120 will be delivered and put into service at the end of the month and the rest by the end of the year."
Following the complaint, the fire department ordered the SCBA bottles be tested. The city said only 179 out of 420 are not certified, but firefighters say the city's numbers do not add up.
"These guys count on the city to take care of us as we take care of the citizens," Harp said. "It's really disappointing the city knowingly wanted to save money, whatever the internal reasons, and put our safety at risk."
An emergency meeting was held at fire headquarters Tuesday night. The first 27 bottles are being tested and ones that are compliant will go back into service.