In November 2008, Detroit firefighter Walter Harris died battling an arson fire in an abandoned home.

When we heard the story, we asked what seemed like an obvious question: Why, in a city overrun by arson and 80,000 abandoned structures, would anyone risk his life to save an abandoned building? For two documentary filmmakers with no connection to the fire service, it was a question we couldn’t let go.

With tremendous grassroots support, we made more than a movie with BURN — we made the first documentary that took audiences closer than they’d ever been, into the fire and real lives of the busiest firefighters in America. Millions of first responders, civilians and legislators saw BURN in theaters, at home and in firehouses all over the world. Audience response was tremendous — BURN became one of the most successful independent films of all time. It was the #1 documentary and independent film on iTunes for its digital release, and maintains a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Most importantly, we were able to donate more than $310,000 worth of much-needed equipment to Detroit firefighters.