BURN is a feature documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of Detroit firefighters, who are charged with the thankless task of saving a city that many have written off as dead.
Firefighters have an up-close view of the best and worst in any city. This is especially true for Detroit. Detroit is a picture of the future of American industrial cities in a post-industrial age: One foot in a prosperous past, with an uncertain next act, struggling to survive in a changing economy.
Since 1950, racial tensions and vanishing industry have cut Detroit’s population in half from 1.8 million, making it a housing market horror story and leaving behind 80,000 abandoned homes.And in Detroit, social problems manifest themselves in one way – FIRE. The result is a dying city with one of the highest arson rates in the world.
Los Angeles, a city of 4 million people, sees 11 structure fires per day. Compare that to Detroit, which has 713,000 residents and 30 structure fires a day.
BURN follows the crew of Engine Company 50 — one of the busiest firehouses in America. Located on Detroit’s blighted east side, E50 stands at ground zero of the city’s problems. Every day, these firefighters face injury, disablement, and death. But they come back, day after day, resolved to make a difference. They’re certainly not here for the money — their starting salary is $30,000 and they haven’t seen a raise in 10 years.
BURN tells the story of these exceptional individuals who, despite the challenges and dysfunction, believe in their city and are attempting to make a difference every day.
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 to battle these complex problems.
Until now, no one has properly explored these issues, and these characters, with the depth and detail they deserve.
Through our exclusive agreement with the DFD and the City of Detroit, BURN has embedded with the firefighters of E50 and is following the Detroit story through their eyes. We’ll explore human struggles, hope and personal courage in the face of overwhelming odds. Produced & Directed by Tom Putnam & Brenna Sanchez. Digital, 86 mins.