Film Involvment Helps Detroit Acquire Fire Equipment

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Nearly two years since their debut on the silver screen, Detroit firefighters finally saw their cut by way of $275,000 worth of equipment for a starring role in the award-winning film “Burn.”

Actor Denis Leary, the film’s executive producer, joined Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins and Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday at Engine No. 9 on Lafayette at Mt. Elliott to announce the actor’s nonprofit Leary Firefighter Foundation donated items that included thermal imaging cameras, carbon monoxide detectors and high-angle rescue gear.

The equipment was funded by a portion of the proceeds from the movie.

“This is an amazing day for us because this process started way back in 2008 when we heard a news story about a Detroit firefighter, Walter Harris, who was killed while fighting afire in an abandoned building,” said Tom Putnam, the movie’s producer and director.

“We’ve just spent the last six years … traveling the world and bringing the story of the Detroit Fire Department to audiences everywhere.”

But the idea for the production wasn’t always well-received and failed to garner backers from major media outlets. It was eventually funded by charitable donations, according to Brenna Sanchez, also a producer and director of the movie.

After screening in 170 cities, the filmmakers raised $115,000 the foundation used to buy the cameras and detectors from firefighter equipment manufacturer MSA.

“This was our purpose and our goal … ,” Sanchez said. “We knew we were going to give it, but MSA made our dollars go so much further by giving us great deals on this equipment.”

Other companies, CMC Rescue Equipment and Kask America also chipped in with $15,000 worth of high-angle rescue and helmets, respectively.

“It’s probably one of the greatest action movies you’ll ever see in your life,” Leary said. “The fire stuff in this movie is real action; it’s a real action movie with real action heroes. The other great thing is, it’s turned these firefighters into movie stars.

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