Detroit firefighters appear to pose in front of burning home in controversial viral photo

The Detroit Fire Department is taking heat after a controversial photo that appears to show dozens of firefighters posing as a vacant home burns in the background circulated on Facebook.

According to the Detroit News, the firefighters in the photo, snapped Tuesday evening on Green Street, were marking the retirement of a battalion chief, Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell told the newspaper. The Detroit Fire Incidents Page shared the image later that night.

"Crews take a moment to get a selfie on New Years!" the page reportedly captioned the photo, which has since been deleted but was captured in screenshots.

A follow-up post Wednesday afternoon said the page removed the photo because firefighters claimed they had been threatened with "punitive actions."

In regards to the photo that was removed we would like to clear a few things up, First of us no one at this page took...

Posted by Detroit Fire Incidents Page on Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Fire Department told WXYZ-TV that the pictured house and a neighboring home were both vacant. Authorities said firefighters were unable to enter the burning home at the time because of dangerous conditions, the Detroit News reported.

"There are a lot of ways to celebrate a retirement," Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said in a statement, according to WXYZ. "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."

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