LODD Detroit SFF. Walter Harris - Engine 23 11/15/2008
A veteran Detroit firefighter died early this morning and four others were injured while battling an arson blaze at a vacant house on the city’s east side. Walt Harris, 37, who was married and the father of six children, died after the roof collapsed on an attic in a house at Sheridan and Kirby. The collapse occurred after the crews had extinguished most of the blaze, and were beginning to mop up. Attempts to revive Harris at the scene and at a hospital were unsuccessful. Deliberate fires in vacant structures have long posed a problem for Detroit firefighters. Last year, more than half of the city's blazes were classified as suspicious, meaning investigators initially believed the fires were set or that there was no obvious cause, such as an electrical source. The area around Sheridan and Kirby is filled with vacant lots and abandoned homes, many of them scarred by fires. Harris joined the department in 1991, and had spent his entire career at the 109-year-old fire house at E. Grand Boulevard and Moran that houses Engine 23 and Squad 3. His oldest son, James Hill Harris, is also a Detroit firefighter.
Walter P. Harris Senior Firefighter Engine 23, 6th Battalion (Active) Lived: 9/11/70 to 11/15/2008 Served: 3/11/1991 to 11/15/2008