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Detroit Mayor Takes Issue With Report On City's Progress Dealing With Fires

DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is criticizing a new report that looks at over 1,600 fires during the first seven months of the year. The report called "Detroit After the Fire" shows that more than a thousand residents were displaced and it will cost Detroit $3 million to demolish the properties.

The mayor says there were actually 2,256 during that period and while he admits fires are still a challenge - he takes issue with the report for another reason.

"This is one of the biggest successes we have in the city - we have an 18 percent reduction in the amount of fires in the city," he told WWJ's Vickie Thomas.

"The story basically said we have a serious fire problem -- not sure if that was a surprise to a lot of people in Detroit. My issue was that they understated the work that's being done and the runs that are being made, because we actually had more but also the progress is being made. If we can string together two or three years of 10-20 percent reductions in fire runs in this city -- we'll make dramatic progress - and that's the trend we are on."

Duggan says the reduction in building fires is due, in part, to the fact that they took down nearly 5,000 homes so far.

"Every fire is a loss but obviously we are having far more fires - I would say close to 80 percent of the fires in this city are in abandoned buildings," said Duggan. "So as we take down 100-150 buildings a week -- we take down targets of opportunity."

Duggan said the reduction in fires is also linked to the increased number of arson related arrests.

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