Winds Push Fires Through Dozens of Detroit Homes

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Residents of a Detroit, Mich., neighborhood are demanding answers after an electrical fire destroyed dozens of homes, including many that were vacant.

Investigators say the fire was started after winds up to 50 mph blew tree limbs into power lines. No one was seriously injured.

There were about 85 fires at homes and garages over a four hour period, said Dan Lijana, spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing.

"It was a freakish day - the wind was tremendous," said City Council President Charles Pugh.

Those affected want to know why it took fire trucks more than an hour to show up at the scene. They say that dozens of neighbors called the emergency response telephone number 9-1-1 as the wind continued to spread the flames down the street.

Alonzo Rush, 62, a retired auto worker, said it took 90 minutes for a fire truck to arrive and several homes were burning by that time.

"We called. All the neighbors called, but we didn't get an answer at 911.. We're not getting the services we once had and what we're paying for," Rush said.

Officials say at the time, firefighters were spread out over the city working to put out more than a dozen different fires. The Detroit Fire Department has been hit by cutbacks in recent months and was assisted by firefighters from neighboring Dearborn, Warren, Harper Woods and Grosse Pointe, according to television station WXYZ.

"That would have been a difficult day for the fire department if we added $100 million to the fire department budget," Bing said.

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