The mayor of the Detroit enclave of Highland Park, Mich., has asked Gov. Jennifer Granholm to declare the city a disaster area because of fires so it will be eligible for federal aid.
Such declarations are typically issued for areas hit by wildfires.
Mayor Hubert Yopp told WWJ-AM that he made the request because blocks of buildings in the economically challenged city have been destroyed by arsonists, fire trucks have broken down and residents have been placed in danger.
Granholm spokeswoman Katie Carey said that the request has been received and is being reviewed by the State Police.
Yopp sent the request to Granholm this month, writing that a “dramatic increase in the number and the target of the fires has greatly compromised our emergency response capabilities,” The Detroit News reported.
In August, the city had a fire almost every day, and Yopp said its more than 20-year-old fire trucks are “limping” along. He said an official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggested the city seek the declaration.
Yopp also wants $5 million from the state to help pay for the demolition of abandoned buildings.
The state in 2009 returned control of Highland Park’s finances to local elected officials and department heads, but the state Department of Treasury left in place a 2001 declaration of a financial emergency for the city.
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