Investigation launched after Detroit firefighters pose for photo in front of burning house

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(CBS News) – A group of Detroit firefighters are facing criticism after posing for a New Year’s Eve photo in front of a building engulfed in flames. Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones told CBS News on Thursday there will be an investigation into the controversial image that was posted on social media.

According to The Detroit News, the photo was shared on the “Detroit Fire Incidents” page just before midnight. The Facebook post included the caption: “Crews take a moment to get a selfie on New Years!” The undated photo was removed on Wednesday after firefighters concerned about their jobs asked to take it down, the “Detroit Fire Incidents” page said. 

A local news reporter shared a before-and-after photo of the building, the latter showing the house completely destroyed and charred.

Reacting to the photo, Jones said in a statement to CBS News: “There are a lot of ways to celebrate a retirement. Taking a photo in front of a building fire is not one of them. We will investigate this matter and follow the facts where they lead us. If this photo is verified, discipline will be in order.”

“Ninety-nine percent of the men and women who go to a scene like that and know what to do,” Jones told the Detroit News. “Behind every fire is a devastated family or property owner.”

A fire official told the local outlet that the house was empty at the time of the fire and too dangerous for the firefighters to enter. The official also said firefighters in the photo were celebrating a retiring fire battalion chief.

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