This is video I made showing a first hand look at the fires that raged through several Detroit neighborhoods in early September 2010 - in the end burning down over 80 houses and garages before morning. Cause of the fires was illegal power hook ups - jumper cables to the power grid. Failure to cut down trees and bushes in these neighborhoods, combined with a very windy and dry evening resulted in a disaster. Residents complained of having called the utility multiple times about the illegal hook ups, but the utility denies all responsibility.
These fires were so overwhelming that civilians came out of their houses and demanded to assist exhausted and under-staffed fire fighters. I saw men moving hoses and ladders and keeping water on unburned houses, while mothers relocated children if possible.
The next day many of these dislodged residents were met with parking tickets, because they could not park in their condemned driveways and had left their cars in the street. The mayor was powerless, and had to ask them to stop, because the parking enforcement is privatized. They only stopped when they were shown on local news ticketing victims of the disaster.
The Detroit Fire Department was so overwhelmed, they asked for and received help from neighboring cities for the first time since the 1967 riots (according to DFD chief). I witnessed two suburban cities arrive on scene, including my own city. I have never seen so much firefighting equipment and personnel in one area in my life. I have never seen DFD outstripped by any amount of fire at any time in Detroit in my lifetime. Never.
There are thousands of other abandoned and half burned houses in neighborhoods all across Detroit. Many disasters waiting to happen.