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FDNY Strongly Contesting UFA Prez’s Claims On Flatbush Blaze

Cassidy Rips Bloomberg Cuts, But Department Says Not So Fast

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The fire union is blaming staff cuts for a delayed response to a tragic Flatbush fire that left one dead, 100 people homeless and dozens of firefighters injured.

But the FDNY said a dispatch problem also helped delay getting water on the blaze for critical minutes, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

The union said Monday the fire that destroyed a Flatbush apartment building on Sunday could have been contained to one or two apartments if not for staff cuts ordered three weeks ago by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Those cuts, said Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy, left each of the first three responding engine companies down one man. Cassidy claimed it delayed getting water on the fire for more than five minutes.

RELATED: Union: Brooklyn Death, Injuries ‘Directly Attributable’ To Bloomberg FDNY Staffing Cuts

“Five minutes is an eternity. A fire doubles exponentially every two minutes,” Cassidy said.

Response times tell part of the story. The first engine, 255, got there in 2 minutes, 13 seconds. The second engine, 249, arrived in 6 minutes, 53 seconds. The engine, 217, showed up in 8 minutes, 45 seconds

Each of those three engines had five men before the staff cuts, but when they raced to the fire they had only four. Cassidy said the first engine had to wait for the second engine to have enough manpower to run the fire hose 450 feet to the fire.

“Now there are 100 families that are homeless, 60 firefighters were injured, 16 were burned and a civilian is dead of Mike Bloomberg’s cuts to the FDNY,” Cassidy said.

The Fire Department is strongly contesting Cassidy’s claims. Officials said it was a combination of factors, including high winds, apartment doors left open that spread the flames and a possible dispatching error in which Engine 248, which was supposed to arrive second, was offline at a cop shooting.

“There are many contributing factors to the fire’s intensity and growth,” said FDNY spokesman James Long, “but the fifth firefighter is not one of the factors in this fire.”

While the debate rages there is one thing that isn’t in dispute — members of two ladder companies who rushed in searching for victims had to transmit “mayday calls” and be evacuated because there was no water on the fire.

Things could get a whole lot worse for the Fire Department. Bloomberg wants to close 20 more fire companies, which FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano told Kramer will impact fire operations “severely.” He said response times will increase.

The closings go into effect July 1.

Think the fire union has a legitimate beef? Do you side with the city? Tell us in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • Rudy

    firefighters, volenteer to work in the public relations office,
    no firefighter who believes in UNION would ever woork there.

  • Andrew

    U are an absolute idiot. Learn your facts before you open your mouth!

  • Concerned

    Think the fire union has a legitimate beef? Do you side with the city?
    Of course the fire union has a beef and an up hill battle trying to explain why 100 people are homeless and why one person is dead and how more tragic it could have been.
    If thoses doors and windows failed as the FDNY suggests, then woudn’t the delay to get water on that fire have contributed to that problem? Sometimes a death here or there whether its a civilian or emergency person, is cost effective for the city, but what if your the one waiting for the help to arrive.

  • gbkny

    But you people on here in NY forget, as Judge Judy would say you picked em, so here it is, you voted him in AGAIN.

  • Bob Garay

    Burning to death is the most horrendous, painful way a human can die. It’s far better that we have more kids in classrooms, than any of those kids burning to death in their homes. To save money, Bloomberg is closing firehouses, eliminating 20 engine companies, and reducing truck crews from 5 to 4. He knows it will cost some lives, but it’s acceptable. He didn’t get his billions by being a nice guy. Bloomberg your despicable!


    Our work week is actually 48hrs. And if you think getting to you 2 or 3 minutes slower or putting water on a fire in double the time isn’t a big deal. Try this…crank your oven up to 500 degrees ( about 1/3 of the temperatures we work in) open the oven door put your face in and hold your breath for 3 minutes ..then let me know what you think

  • giemma

    wanna bust a union? then bust the USA, the greatest union in the world. being anti-union is anti-American!! without the unions, there wouldnt be any weekends. ull be working 14hr days, no breaks, no benefits and dismissals for stopping to cough! who benefits from eliminating unions? the robber barons of course! so all you union busting supporters deserve to work like mules if thats if you want ur bosses to be rich. Remember…“The man who has his millions will want everything he can lay his hands on and then raise his voice against the poor devil who wants ten cents more a day.”
    Samuel Gompers

    • johnny

      Please. There are already federal laws on the books that protect American workers. Unions are an obsolete, archaic organization that does nothing more than find clever ways to legally extort money out of taxpayers who dont know any better.

      • Allison

        You can put all the laws you want on the books, but if you don’t have unions, or groups of people banding together to make sure they’re enforced, you’re pretty much SOL. Big businesses and the government are looking out for the bottom line – not protecting the little guys. Unions are to make sure that every voice is heard, no matter what class you are.

      • John P.

        Yeah and with those laws are the bosses in every politicians pocket!

  • Al

    Closed firehouse on my street. Closed firehouse around the corner. Closed firehouse in the next neighborhood. Staffing cuts, salary freezes, benefit reduction, pensions stolen. Firemen killed, burned, broken, maimed. Disbanded companies never reinstated and firemen are never re-hired.

  • Trijoe

    They complain about response time, yet they sleep at night. Can anyone say that doesn’t slow down response time? 70% of retirees go out on 3/4 disability, funny how most get hurt after reaching full salary and just happen to have a ton of overtime for their last year. I wonder why the lower paid guys go out on disability at such a lower rate than the higher paid guys. One would think the random (LOL) injuries would be equally spread throughout all pay scales. It’s union busting time. Say goodbye to $12,500 bonus. Say hello to paying for your benefits. Just like the rest of the country.

    • Pat

      sleeping at night has nothing to do with response time. have you ever been in a firehouse when the alarm sounds and seen how fast guys fly down pole holes and get their gear on?? doesn’t matter if it’s 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning.
      younger guys that get hurt try their best to stay on the job because if they retire early they may not make enough money to live on. and it’s a lot easier for a 25 yr old to recover from an injury then a guy who is 45 of 50.

    • INJUN


    • Jen

      Yet another person making up facts as if they are true. My husband is a firefighter – there is no $12,500 bonus – ever. See what 20 years of running up stairs, carrying 50 + pounds of equipment on your back -into burning building does to your body! Common sense tells you that older guys, who have been beating up their bodies for 20 years are more likely to get hurt then a 20 year old kid who just started. Glad to see you have the guts to attack firefighters under a fake name – would you have had the guts to run into the twin towers – knowing you might not come back to save someone else’s life. – my bet is no. Chances are you were cowering your living room watching tv. Thanks for that!

    • John P

      Also don’t forget to say good bye to the people who die in fires.

    • Paul

      Yet another misinformed or just plain bias and pathetic individual. Get your facts straight. Look up the numbers for how many firemen have died from causes related directly to the WTC and are not even given a proper Line of Duty Funeral let alone the benefits their families deserve. God forbid you are ever in a situation where you need to be pulled out of a burning building. The difference between you and firefighters are that the latter would never leave you on the floor above. You will never know or understand the job we do and all that make it so great, so you just envy us instead.

    • johnny

      I agree. While these guys perform a great service, the time has come to stop using the hero status as a way to “collectively bargain” increased salaries and benefits that go far beyond what taxpayers are able to afford. If you feel you’re being treated unfairly, find another line of work because their will be people lined up smiling to take your place receiving half of what you currently milk the system for.

      • John P.

        Milk the system?..I thought you said “these guys perform a great service”

    • Dennis

      You should have taken the test but it sounds like you may be a coward. Where were you on 9/11? Where were you on Fathers Day 2001? Where were you when firefighters were jumping from a 4th story window? The $12,000 is the unions money and I pay into my pension. Get your facts right. Oh yeah go tell a fireman or a cop how you feel, oh yeah your to much of a coward. If you ever need help call the mayor or someone from the private sector and see how much help you get.

  • Chris

    How often do we hear “dispatching error” as the reason for these major fires? Furthermore, doesn’t the city make the FDNY send engine companies to medical emergencies to cover-up for the lack of ambulance coverage/response times? If so, that doesn’t sound like a dispatching error if Engine 248 was sent to cop shooting. It sounds like the cities money-saving policies compounding to result in yet another tragedy.

    Suspect “new and improved” dispatching system + thinly stretched engine companies + reduced staffing = problems!

    • Frank

      Great point!!! How often when there is a tragedy at a fire, the Fire Department Spokesman claims there was a dispatching error. Do these dispatching errors occur that often, or is that there standard coverup answer? If there are so many dispatching errors, why do we only hear of them after tragic fires, why don’t we hear more about Bloomberg’s disastrous UCT system? Or is it just the standard coverup answer that the spokesman uses to defer criticism from the department?

  • Joe

    Bloomberg putting lives at risk safety first education second if you don’t have safety you will not need schools because there won’t be nobody to go to them also was bloomberg a fireman that he says 4 guys could do the job of 5 men

  • johnny

    Maybe if the Fire Department worked more than three days a week and spent less time shopping for dinner at KeyFood, they might actuallly have a liegitimate complaint. If they want that fifth man on the crew, let Cassidy and the Union pay for it.

    • John P

      Being at KEYFOOD like you say would put them on the ROAD and response time would be faster. You have a problem with Firemen eating?

      • johnny

        Really? What other job allows its employees to utilize company vehicles to go food shopping and then spend the evening cooking a feast every night?

    • Paul

      Fireman put in a 40 hour workweek just like the rest of the united states. Do your research you uneducated fool. Many of them would rather not work nights holidays and weekends and be home with their family instead of leaving them at night wondering if they will come back the next day. You’re a sad individual.

      • johnny

        Right, they work so hard most are able to have second jobs or run contracting businesses on the side not to mention parking perks and other freebies not allocated to other city employees.

        Do your research before spouting off.

      • John P.

        Its great working a second job. Thats why we live in this free land called AMERICA.
        Tell em Paul

    • Rory FDNY US Army

      Johnny are you serious??? Your attacking unions and its hard working people?? Talking about legally taking tax payers money?? There are some bad apples in every tree but the things your saying?? Look at our Politicians first and the money they take from taxpayers to live…… No you’ll attack US firefighters getting dinner while at work…. Dinner we pay for and leave if an alarm comes in…. What do you do for work??? Ever seen a taxi grabbing something to eat?? A police officer stopping in the patrol car to get food?? It’s because we dont get 1hr dinner breaks we’re ALWAYS on the clock…. Then about Health care and milking the system with fake injuries?? Whats next our military is going to have to pay for thier medical attention after WE get blown up over seas??? I’ll be home from Iraq in July swing by my firehouse in Brooklyn and I’ll give you a tour and you can drill / train with us and see what you think…… I was there on 9/11 and lost family, I’ve been to fires where men have died and I have seen injuries to guys like no others…… Your barking up the wrong tree, I hope you dont buy any tickets to any major sporting events either, cause then your REALLY getting the shaft…… Well stay safe and check your smoke detectors and practice your fire drills at home, and especially if you live in NYC because the Mayor doesnt care if you burn up……

  • waylon

    Isn’t that coward James Long part of the Firefighters union. He should be ashamed of himself for going against the union. God forbid a firefighter should die do to understaffing, he better not show his face at the funeral.

    • John P

      Civilian Public Information Officer for the administration. (yes sir no sir)

  • John P

    All the BIG SAVINGS will eventually be paid out in lawsuits. Cutting this severely make no sense!

  • liwingnut

    It is never..I repeat never the Unions fault.

    • John P

      Mayor Bloomberg to Public Information Officer James Long “TELL THEM THIS OR YOUR FIRED” …….got it?

      • Uncle Kermit

        I was kind of thinking the same thing, John.

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