The image, posted to the Detroit Fire incidents page, showed the crews standing or kneeling as the property burns, and flames leaping into the sky.
A number of them appear to be smiling, and it was captioned: “Crews take a moment to get a selfie on New Years!”
The Detroit News said the crews were unable to deal with the blaze because they had been attending a retirement party for a senior fire official.
“There are a lot of ways to celebrate a retirement. Taking a photo in front of a building fire is not one of them,” Detroit Fire commissioner Eric Jones said in a statement.
He said an investigation into the incident and its posting on the website was being investigated. He told the newspaper the behaviour was “inappropriate and unprofessional”.
“Ninety-nine percent of the men and women who go to a scene like that and know what to do,” he said. “Behind every fire is a devastated family or property owner.”
The Detroit Fire incidents page on Facebook posted a message saying it had removed the photo after receiving messages from firefighters who were worried about their jobs.
“We would like to clear a few things up, said the posting. “First of us no one at this page took that photo. Second we were asked to post it by a fire fighter for the city of Detroit.
“Third the only reason it was removed is we received messages by guys on the job stating that they had been threatened for the photo being posted.”
It added: “To clarify 'threatened' meaning threatened by their work I would assume by their context threatened of punitive actions.“
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies