"Burn" opens to supportive crowd with many firefighters in Detroit

Oct 1, 2012

The documentary "Burn" made its debut in Detroit over the weekend.

The film was shot by Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez.

The filmmakers say they were inspired to make a movie about Detroit firefighters from this great NPR story by Jackie Lydon from 2008:

Putnam and Sanchez were embedded with the crew of Engine Company 50. They used helmet cams to show a first-person perspective of  what firefighters face when putting their lives on the line.

Here's the trailer:

The film received a enthusiastic crowd at the Fillmore in Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press' Julie Hinds:

The event was a chance for members of the Detroit Fire Department to gather -- for once not to attend the funeral of a fallen comrade, but for recognition of the fact that they put their lives on the line, day in and day out.

"I thought it was fantastic. I thought it really told the story of what we do," firefighter Timothy Provost of Engine 34 said after the screening.

"It's the truth," said Madison Heights fire marshal Shawn Knight. "The thing I take out of this more than anything is the politicians don't understand what firefighters do on a daily basis. They have no clue. Every day, when these guys put on their uniforms, it could be their last day."

And Tony Briscoe at the Detroit News reports, the firemen in attendance said the filmmakers got it right:

At the end of the movie Friday, people wiped tears and rose in a standing ovation — many chanting "DFD" — as the credits rolled. After a brief bagpipe selection, Sanchez asked all firefighters to stand up to be recognized.

Fire Commissioner Don Austin, who saw the film win the Audience Choice Award at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, said the project serves as a proper tribute to the men and women who risk their lives every day for Detroit.

"It tugs at your heartstrings to see all the hard work that you do, and they definitely captured the human side of it," Austin said.

To learn more about the film and to find out where other screenings are taking place, you can visit the film's website - detroitfire.org.