A short documentary follows the Highland Park fire department as it does some amazing work with incredibly limited resources. 

For years the firefighters of Highland Park, Michigan, a three-square mile town completely surrounded by the city of Detroit, worked out of a giant warehouse. Why? The city didn't have enough money to maintain the actual fire station. Firefighters have since returned to the condemned building—to put out a fire there. 

In this great new micro-documentary by the team at Verge, we learn that the Highland Park Fire Department fights as many as 200 structural fires a year in a city of 12,000, despite only having a crew of around 30. Many of these fires are the product of "people burning for kicks, or for insurance money, or to clear abandoned property," but some of them are also started by squatters just trying to stay warm. Until stimulus funds gave them a new fire station in August, Highland Park firefighters faced the same problem: It was almost impossible for them to stay warm during their shifts in the plywood rooms they built inside the warehouse.

Spare 13 minutes to watch the documentary (over lunch, perhaps?). You won't regret it. 

Top image: The Highland Park fire department operated out of this warehouse for several years. The Verge/Youtube

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    CityLab University: Induced Demand

    When traffic-clogged highways are expanded, new drivers quickly materialize to fill them. What gives? Here’s how “induced demand” works.

  2. Four young adults exercise in a dark, neon-lit gym.
    Life

    Luxury Gyms Invite You to Work Out, Hang Out, Or Just Work

    With their invite-only policies and coworking spaces, high-end urban gyms aspire to be fitness studio, social club, and office rolled into one.

  3. Rows of machinery with long blue tubes and pipes seen at a water desalination plant.
    Environment

    A Water-Stressed World Turns to Desalination

    Desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. But it remains expensive and creates its own environmental problems.

  4. a photo of a highway
    Transportation

    Americans Are Spending Billions on Bad Highway Expansions

    PIRG’s annual list of “highway boondoggles” includes nine transportation projects that will cost a total of $25 billion while driving up emissions.

  5. Design

    What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

    Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

×