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Lawsuit Alleges Firefighter Layoffs Compromise Safety In Garden City

Fire engine (file/credit: Clipart)

Fire engine (file/credit: Clipart)

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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A lawsuit has been filed to try to bring laid off firefighters back to the Garden City Fire Department.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, there are both volunteer firefighters and paid firefighters in the Long Island village.

But a few months ago, the board voted to lay off six paid firefighters in a cost-cutting measure that could save the village $950,000 a year.

Attorney Richard Corenthal, who represents the firefighters, said because of the layoffs, three firehouses are not properly staffed.

“There’s something called the two in, two out rule. You have to have two firefighters inside and two outside so that they can maintain communications. That first responding engine does not have the adequate staffing to respond,” Corenthal told Hall.

He noted that every second counts when responding to a fire and said the laid off employees must come back.

“They have to wait for the other fire engine to come from the opposite side of the village,” Corenthal told Hall.

An attorney for the village said they would not put residents in jeopardy and noted that there are currently 25 paid firefighters on staff. The attorney added nearly all other areas of Long Island only have volunteers.

In published reports, the deputy mayor has said that the department could operate safely with four lieutenants and 18 firefighters. He added the layoffs do not pose a safety hazard.

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