Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

April 22, 2013 11:33 ET

FBU Sponsors Manchester Premiere of Film About Detroit Firefighters

"Risking their lives in a city in decline, with low pay and substandard equipment - sounds familiar," says FBU general secretary Matt Wrack

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND--(Marketwired - April 22, 2013) - The European premiere of a new film about Detroit firefighters is being sponsored by the Fire Brigades Union.

BURN captures a year in the lives of Detroit firefighters who are charged with the thankless task of saving a city that many have written off as dead.

Since 1950's a vanishing industry has cut Detroit's population in half from 1.8 million, leaving behind 80,000 abandoned structures, or kindling, as the firefighters call it. The result is a dying city with one of the highest arson rates in the world.

BURN is about the men and women who risk their lives to battle those fires. Their equipment isn't up to the job, and their pay is disgracefully low - a starting salary of $30,000 and they haven't seen a raise in 10 years.

"We're sponsoring this premiere at a time when British firefighters are increasingly being expected to risk their lives with second rate equipment and ever lower pay and pensions," says FBU general secretary Matt Wrack.

"Just like their colleagues in Detroit, the men and women of the British fire service are underpaid, undervalued, and vital to the survival of our towns and cities."

BURN follows the crew of Engine Company 50 - one of the busiest firehouses in America, located on Detroit's blighted east side. Every time that bell rings, the doors of E50 roll up, its crew step into worn boots, climb into decrepit trucks and drive out into the crumbling streets of Detroit.

The film started as a response to the death, in November 2008, of 17-year veteran Detroit firefighter Walter Harris, battling an arson fire in an abandoned home.

The Mayor's office was hesitant to let cameras into the fire department; getting started took more than a year of negotiations. Despite the filmmakers' requests, no pre-interviewing was allowed, and the firefighters didn't even know a film crew was coming.

For 13 months the film crew was embedded with the firefighters. A significant portion of any proceeds from the film will go to the Leary Firefighters Foundation to buy much-needed gear for Detroit firefighters.

The European premiere of Burn in Manchester will be on Thursday 2 May 2013 at the Odeon Printworks, Withy Street.

Join an audience of firefighters and film buffs for what promises to be a memorable evening.

Contact Information

  • Anna Burton (for the filmmakers)
    07768 693972 or 020 71128413

    Paul Hampton (for the FBU)
    07740403240 or 02084811511