By Bill Laytner, Detroit Free Press:
Mike Nevin, a recently retired battalion chief and former head of the union of Detroit’s firefighters, was found dead Thursday evening of a heart attack, according to family members. Nevin of St. Clair Shores was 57.
He spent his entire career as a firefighter in Detroit and was the son of one. Nevin joined the department in 1987 and retired in July, according to the website of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association.
Nevin retired after suffering a disabling shoulder injury while on the job, according to Dave Fornell, a former deputy fire commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department.
Nevin was “100% always for the firefighters,” said Fornell, who now is director of fleet and facilities for the department.
“Everything he did was for keeping the citizens safe and his people safe, although he didn’t put up with any crap. If Mike got to a scene and it wasn’t going right, he’d say to the officers, ‘I want this done right’ and they’d do it,” said Fornell, who lives a few blocks from Nevin’s home and knew him for 25 years. The two socialized often, Fornell said.
Nevin was known for relentlessly fighting fires, and for leading crack teams of firefighters, but “he never hesitated to take the time to pass on the craft,” Fornell said.
Nevin was elected president of the firefighters union in 2015, just after the city emerged from bankruptcy, then lost the election five years later when financial irregularities surfaced at the union.
“Mike was not charged with anything. He was not involved, but it happened on his watch,” Fornell said. After a lengthy investigation, the union’s ex-treasurer Verdine Day was sentenced in May 2022 to a year in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $220,000 in restitution to the union, according to a Free Press report.
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