â€œRisking their lives in a city in decline, with low pay and substandard equipment â€“ sounds familiarâ€ says FBU general secretary Matt Wrack
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.Â
Since 1950â€™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 isnâ€™t up to the job, and their pay is disgracefully low â€“ a starting salary of $30,000 and they haven’t seen a raise in 10 years.
â€œWeâ€™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 pensionsâ€ says FBU general secretary Matt Wrack.
â€œJust 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.â€
BURN follows the crew of Engine Company 50 â€” one of the busiest firehouses in America, located on Detroitâ€™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 Mayorâ€™s office was hesitant to let cameras into the fire department; getting started took more than a year of negotiations. Despite the filmmakersâ€™ requests, no pre-interviewing was allowed, and the firefighters didnâ€™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 the Leary Firefighters Foundation to buy much-needed gear for Detroit firefighters.
The European premiere of Burn will be on Wednesday 1 May 2013 @ 6pm at the Curzon Cinema in Shaftesbury Avenue.
The European premiere of Burn in Manchester will be on Thursday 2 May 2013 @ 6pm at the Odeon Printworks, Withy Street.
Join an audience of firefighters and film buffs for what promises to be a memorable evening.
NOTE FOR EDITORS
Anna Burton (for the filmmakers), 07768 693972; 020 71128413
Paul Hampton (for the FBU), 07740403240; 02084811511