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Detroit — A controversial photo of city firefighters posing in front of a house engulfed in flames will be investigated after it was posted on social media on New Year's Eve, fire officials said.

The photo was posted Tuesday just before midnight on the Facebook page Detroit Fire Incidents Page. It included a caption: "Crews take a moment to get a selfie on New Years!"

Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said the posting of the photo will be investigated and disciplinary action will be taken.

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“There are a lot of ways to celebrate a retirement," Jones said in a statement. "Taking a photo in front of a building fire is not one of them." 

Reached via telephone on Wednesday, Jones added the photo was "inappropriate and unprofessional."

"Ninety-nine percent of the men and women who go to a scene like that and know what to do," Jones said. "Behind every fire is a devastated family or property owner."

Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said the photo was taken outside a vacant house on the 600 block of Green Street on the city's west side, where a fire was reported at 6:34 p.m. Tuesday. The house was too dangerous to enter as firefighters were celebrating a retiring fire battalion chief, he said.

"It was despicable," Fornell said.

Nearly 100 people shared the photo by Wednesday morning, and more than three dozen people commented.

Some wished the firefighters a happy new year.

"Happy New Year's DFD, you guys are the best there is.😎," wrote one person. Another added: "Awesome happy new years men !!!!!!"

But others who commented said the photo was inappropriate.  

"I hope that was a staged fire," wrote a commenter. "I'd hate to think my firemen (were) posing for pictures while a real house was burning."

Another said: "Way (to) go. Way (to) look professional and this puts a really bad rep on your company too."

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com

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