Detroit Sued For Negligence in Fighting Fire Where Firefighters Posed for Photo

A Detroit property owner whose building caught fire on New Years Eve has filed suit against the city’s fire department over a photo depicting a group of firefighters posing in front of the blazing home.

The photo of Deonte Higginbotham’s burning house went viral and prompted questions about why eighteen firefighters were posing rather than extinguishing the fire. The building was under construction at the time, and fire officials reported that the fire was too dangerous for personnel to enter. Discipline was handed down to those involved, although the details remain sketchy.

Higginbotham claims at the time of the fire he was rehabbing the house for his grandmother. A copy of the complaint is not available at present, but according to clickondetroit.com, the suit alleges negligence.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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