'Burn' chronicles the firefighting heroes of Detroit

On March 15 and 16, the Prince Music Theater is screening Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez’s documentary Burn, the film that showed audiences what Detroit firefighters have truly been battling in their city.

Last year, news reports continued to rise on a city that has been burning itself to the ground. As recent as December 19th, Taryn Asher of MyFoxDetroit.com revealed that Detroit suffered nearly 5,000 fires needing investigation, annually, calling it “a city plagued by arsons.” Yardena Schwartz and Jim Gold reported for NBC News that there are approximately 30 structures fires each day. Putnam’s film, which won the Audience Award at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, presents a startlingly up-close glance through the eyes of several Detroit firefighters and the battles they face against a dwindling economy and the fires that continue to rage throughout the city.


The footage that they managed to capture in this film is nothing short of extraordinary. Viewers literally travel with these men as they journey into homes engulfed in flames. It’s easy to find one’s heart racing as the camera tilts up to reveal flames licking their way up the walls and across the ceiling above the filmmakers’ heads. With 80,000 homes abandon and a once thriving population that has plunged to nearly 700,000, these firefighters continue to place themselves on the line to save the city that so many have given up on. 

The film will screen at 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM on both the 15th and the 16th. Dealing with the turbulent political climate, life losses, heinous injuries, etc., this is the most in depth examination of the dangers that Detroit firefighters experience without striding into the inferno themselves.

Art Attack is a partnership with Drexel University and is supported by a grant from then Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance