NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) — As the investigation into what caused the deadly five-alarm apartment building fire in Brooklyn continues, fire department union leaders blamed recent staff reductions for the amount of time it took to fight Saturday night’s blaze.

Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy told 1010 WINS on Sunday that the hundreds left homeless after the Flatbush fire along with injured firefighters and the death of 64-year-old Mary Feagin was “directly attributable to staffing cuts at the FDNY by [Mayor] Mike Bloomberg.”

About 200 firefighters were called to the gusty scene and it took them seven hours to extinguish the fire.

Under a now-expired agreement, 60 engine companies in the busiest city areas had five-person crews. Currently, all engine companies in the city are staffed with four-person crews. City officials, including Mayor Bloomberg, had argued that the cuts were necessary to prevent the closing of firehouses.

In late January, Cassidy had argued that the staff reductions would result in “more injuries for firefighters, more injuries and/or deaths for civilians.”

Cassidy claims that because the first unit to arrive on the scene Saturday had one less firefighter, “it took [the crew] five minutes longer to get water on the fire.”

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out allowing a fire to grow exponentially every two minutes, what’s going to happen at five minutes?”

It is not the first incident following the expiration of the previous agreement that Cassidy has drawn such links between the cuts and outcome of a fire.

On February 11 after one woman was killed and another was critically injured at 1142 Lenox Road, Cassidy said the fire was a “byproduct” of the staff reductions.

Firefighters on the scene Saturday blamed the wind for much of the difficulty in battling the blaze.

“This was bad because of the wind,” Fire Chief Edward Kilduff told the Daily News. “We had to evacuate very quickly because basically the fire chased us right down the hall and down the stairs.”

The FDNY released a statement in response to the UFA.  The statement said that units “never had a chance to extinguish the fire” because the door to the apartment was left open and “extreme winds” allowed the flames to “spread out of the apartment and throughout the fourth floor.”

“Contrary to the UFA’s statement, it was the open door problem – greatly exacerbated by severe winds – that fueled this fire into an unstoppable conflagration, despite the efforts of more than 200 firefighters who battled it for more than nine hours,” the statement read.

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Comments (70)
  1. Tax Slave says:

    This kind of hate from the left is beyond disgusting and beneath contempt.

    Sadly, it is also typical…

  2. Bloombarak says:

    It is amazing people siding with the 19 Billion dollar man against firefighters that risked their lives and got hurt.People are so stupid.

  3. An observer says:

    Firefighters take note. You can see by the publics reaction that there is no concern regarding response time, to arrive , or get a line to an upper floor. They would even condone volunteers, which would retire the response time concept altogether.. The public no longer supports firefighters, and reveal that “collateral damage” is perfectly acceptable. So ride 3 on a rig, charge the deluge gun, protect your perimeter and CYA brother.

  4. likell says:

    If the fire fighter’s union had negotiated lower wages or benefits that would have allowed full crews this would never have happened.

    1. Michael Lauinger says:

      That’s exactly what they try to do. It’s unfortunate that cities fight and win these battles, allowing citizens and firefighters to die and suffer injury. Of all things to put a price-tag on, it has to be the life of a firefighter or someone trapped in a burning building. I hope that everyone who loses a loved one due to this ignorance is someone who supported SB5. May their suffering multiply and abide with them forever.

  5. Ruckweiler says:

    Amazing! Sounds as if these complaints will lead off in the next union “pay” negotiation. Time for the end of public service unions.

  6. George Johnson says:

    So the union is saying that they cut ONLY DRIVERS of the engines??

    How is removing one or more fire fighters going to determine how fast they make it to a fire??

    This is nothing but a lie folks. Time to end the unions. They had a need, back in the day. But today, you can take your employer to court if need be. We just DO NOT need unions. They’re BAD for America.

    If you don’t think so, just go to the COMMUNIST PARTY USA website and do some reading. The communist LOVE unions. That’s all you need to know right there.

    1. Lee Giroux says:

      So George Johnson, you sound very knowledgeable on fire tactics, how long have you been a firefighter? No training, I guess that’s why you should probably leave the firefighting to the professionals that are risking their lives every minute of every day. It kills me, the people that bash the firefighters union sing a different tune when they or their loved ones need life saving assistance. Consider yourself lucky there are men and women that do this profession so you can sleep at night knowing if you or your child need medical assistance or your house put out they are a phone call away! Instead of bashing them you should be praising them. They have a union because the Goverment puts money ahead of safety, if they didn’t have a union there would be many more lives lost then there already are, today!

      1. Michael Lauinger says:

        Amen, Lee. George is the perfect spokesperson and example of the evil that is penetrating and permeating our once proud nation. WTG, Darth Johnson.

    2. Zac says:

      I bet you wouldn’t be saying that if it were your family and your kids up stairs, REMEMBER we are the ones running in while you are running out! Dont ever forget the 343, Those men were more then you will ever be!

    3. Tom McClusky says:

      So, you’re another “expert”. It has nothing to do with response time. It’s about losing 20 percent of an engine company’s work force. Less people equals more time to accomplish a task. Get it?

    4. Jim says:

      You’re stupidity is scary, I hope you’re either a ten year old who will learn better than to mouth off ignorantly or you’re in the paid army of commenters of the Koch Bros. Either way you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. Unions are why most people who do have health insurance have it. It’s also why you have a weekend. They’re the reason people get overtime. They’re the reason that you can’t fire someone for political reasons. That all seems very American to me.

      Not to mention, getting to the fire is one thing. Moving a charged hose line up several flights of stairs into a burning apartment, well that takes more than three people. The “driver” is outside maning the pumps and that leaves three people to get the line in place. Not enough bright one!

  7. 60svet says:

    This is a new low for any union. Welcome to union view of collective bargining. I’m sorry for the victim and the injured fire fighters, know I would not and could not do their job, but trying to blame it all on the mayor budget cutting seems a stretch.

    1. Michael Lauinger says:

      It’s no stretch at all. 20 years of experience and continual training in fire science leave me with zero doubt. It’s not a question, it’s a fact, and the statistics back it up. lower crew response equals a higher death ratio. Anything under a 6 man crew on the initial response leads to exponentially increased risk of death on the scene. Each further missing crewmember increases it further in kind. Thanks so much for supporting the men who put their lives on the line for you and yours, and who have the training and experience to know what it takes to do their job. Incredible!

  8. Jack says:

    It is time to end public unions. Take a look at our city school system or the fire/police dept. This story is another example of self-serving union lies. Our tax dollars could be spent so much more effectively.

  9. shredder says:

    Whenever you hear ‘Union leaders say’, ‘union leaders blame’, or ‘union leaders…’, rest assured. whatever comes out of the ‘union leader’s’ mouth is self-serving and a hot mouthed lie. They are usually condradicted even by the union member on the actual scene

  10. Walter says:

    Maybe it’s time to follow the lead of other areas and look to having volunteers on the fire department.

    1. Michael Lauinger says:

      Oh yes, please do!!! I do so hope that of the lives lost, one will be yours! I have a ton of respect for anyone who volunteers for this work, but I know plenty of volunteers who rely upon, seek, and respect the daily training and credentials of professional firefighters. It’s the sort of teamwork you can’t understand if you haven’t been there.

  11. Jana G. Arneel says:

    The unions are responsible for the death of a mom during the snowstorm when they refused to plow the roads!!!!!!!! No MORE TAX PAYER FUNDED PUBLIC UNIONS!!!!

  12. sean patriot says:


  13. Jim says:

    Pathological Liars.

  14. IgorF says:

    What those putting a national spin on this don’t understand is that Bloomberg
    is one of the biggest spending Mayors in NYC history.So it comes down to priority:Save lives in the outer boroughs by keeping fire fighters and sainitation workers or spend billions on private contracts and flops like CityTime.Save lives in the outer boroughs or give Manhattanites another subway stop costing billions,Save lives in the outer boroughs or spend hundreds of millions of dollars on bike lanes and Pedestrian Mallls for tourists.

  15. braniff says:

    Mr. Bloomberg is quite upset over the accusations made by the UFA.

    He is also upset over the lack of support he is getting from the people of NYC.

    He is expecting better support for his continued fight against guns, his budget cuts, and his vehement hatred of tobacco.

    1. kittytiger says:

      i don’t know anybody but grouchy old people who support Bloomberg mugging a million nyc smokers of $6 every time they buy a pack.Most people can see it is a con not to have to tax millionaires and billionaires.But even old people are upset at Bloomberg now for closing hundreds of Senior Centers.

  16. fred fulco says:

    the death and destruction is directly attributed to the incompetence of the “affirmative action” firefighters…not having the best person for the job, but rather meeting a certain racial quota!

  17. Pappione says:

    Goodbye unions! They are obsolete and represent a only 10% of the workers in the United States of America. They create a false sense of worth for members that clearly could not make it in the real world!

  18. PIKE BISHOP JR. says:


  19. uptoit says:

    In keeping with the nanny state trends there if is so necessary to have water on a fire in two minutes then Bloomberg should pass a law requiring all apartments/stores/multiperson building to retrofit and install on demand sprinkler systems, then they could further reduce the number of firefighters. Bloomberg could then use the extra money to send more investigators to other States to intrude on their firearm sales and/or processes.

  20. Dan says:

    Ignorant comments are always made by people that have never been affected by a fire and hopefully never will be.The delay getting a hose line and water to the fifth floor was definitely due to the lack of that fifth man helping and the delay of the next engine company arriving later because the normal engine was not available. It was then the door being left open and the wind conditions came into play.Eight firefighters from the first arriving units getting, twenty eight injuries overall,the unfortunate death of an innocent civilian and the destruction of an entire apartment building are the reasons the union blames the loss of the fifth firefighter,not money.The union does fight for wages and benefits but look at the increase of fire deaths and multiple alarms with injuries to civilians and firefighters since realize maybe it could happen to you or someone you know soon.

    1. Matt says:

      As a retired firefighter, I agree. But it’s still snarky to make it all about staffing. There can be a lot of reasons things don’t happen as quickly as one might want: what if the closest engine company and the next closest are on other calls? It’s all about having the best you can afford – but you have to be able to afford it! In the end, you put your team on the field and do the best you can. As a former public education officer, I wish more people took personal responsibility for their own safety. THAT would reduce injuries and deaths more than anything. You don’t have a working smoke detector in your house and you and the kids are hurt, whose fault is it? Stopping emergencies before they happen is the most affordable way to go. Anyone can help with that.

    2. Michael Lauinger says:

      Sounds like a man who knows. The statistics and realities tell the tale, but if people are too ignorant to be able to research this for themselves, they are doomed to repeat and believe their rhetoric. Good luck to them when they need you, Dan. God bless your continued devotion to those who would steal your life and liveliehood.

  21. Mike Anderson says:

    Mare Bloomberg would rather use his staff to go buy guns in Arizona to tout his own anti-gun agenda than properly take care of the people of new York.

    Fire the moron.

  22. Lefty from the midwest says:

    The term ” grow exponentially every two minutes” makes no sense. The union pres was obviously taught by union public school teachers. A fire can grow exponentially, or it can double in intensity every two minutes, but not grow expontentially every two minutes.

    1. Michael Lauinger says:

      It certainly can. It can grow exponentially over any time period, as determined by the situation and flammable materials at hand, wind direction, building layout, etc. The “two minutes” guideline is a generalized statistic based upon miilions of fires and their reported spread and increase over a period of time. It does not apply to every fire, but something tells me they have the evidence that shows it did with THIS one..!

  23. Huddy says:

    If we could afford to assign a fireman to each home 24 hours a day, we would have less fire fatalities.

    But obviously there is a point where we have to balance the cost of prevention with the diminishing marginal probability of disaster.

    If we can’t afford it, we can’t afford it. Bloomberg, fool that he is, is not to blame.

  24. bhuightrionzcta says:

    huh? oh wait, it is fine.

  25. Bronx Native says:

    It is pitiful and unforgivable but not surprising for this public union leader to use the tragic death of a New Yorker to lobby for more union members, but these union leaders have no limits how low they will go to gain more money and power over the elected officials and the citizens of New York.

    As for Mayor Bloomberg, who follows in the tradition of other New York liberal nanny-state Republicans like Rockerfeller and Lindsey, he deserves the attacks because he is not willing to call these union leaders to account.

  26. Trishe says:

    What other comment would be expected from the Union. Get rid of them!

  27. Dave C says:

    Maybe if we couldpay firefighters a little less, weccould five man crews. The union head justvwants to collect more dues, he could give a rats behind about the citizens innFlatbush.

    1. Michael Lauinger says:

      And you know this how!? From my experience, firefighters are the most concerned about their fellow man, and especially the citizens of their jurisdiction. I’m glad you can tell him just how good it feels to see another dies on his watch, when that death could most probably have been avoided. Your mind-reading skills are ASTOUNDING!

  28. Yoely Teitelbaum says:

    this is just more antisemitism because the mayor is a jew.

  29. chula says:

    Mr Bloomberg – has bought his way to another term – so he can finish ruining NYC – he has cut off fire fighters – highway repairs – wants tolls and raised registrion fees – so we can support his bike lane project – couldve used that money to really fix these dam roads – not even upstate where it snows more that here in the city – do you see pot holes 3ft wide – then if its patched – only lasts a weekend. We pay more to get less service – Shame on you Mr Blood

  30. Kevin says:

    FDNY staff cuts?
    How about bloomberg getting back the 700 million that was embezzled from the payroll time keeping contractors?

  31. Rob Meier says:

    I remember in the 90’s when Guiliani made cuts to the Fire Dept and Police force. They never forgave him. He touched the sacred cow. You think Wisconsin is bad. Just wait until NYC happens. Jimmy Carter gave NYC a bailout in the late 70’s which I dont they ever paid off. The pain is yet to come.

  32. John Dodge says:

    Fires are tragic events. People die in fires all the time. Public Unions are a tragedy too. Ripping off taxpayers is their way and their Communist thug leaders need to be stopped. Unemployed workers and the middle class see unions as a destroyer of our companies and our public entities.

  33. Hedley Lamar says:

    Time and again, when the chips are down, unions will show you their true colors. If you try to implement cutbacks, they’ll lay down on the job. That is why we should not have government worker unions of any kind.

  34. Dave says:

    Those people died because the dirtbags in the snow plows took their time getting around to plowing in protest to Bloomberg cuts. I’m guessing you’re blaming the governor of Wisconsin for schools being closed there all last week? Logic like yours should remain undiscovered and untouched.

  35. Herb Friedman says:

    All cuts cost lives, whether they be fire, police or hospital. The city will look you right in the eye and lie to you, saying that if it takes 8 minutes for an emergency vehicle rather than 5 minutes there is no difference. Of course this is a lie. At the same time, if there is no money to pay emergency workers, what is the answer. The dirty little secret is that there are people who do the math and say “We can save 10 million but might lose two lives. That is as good as we can do. Let’s go with it.” Less fireman and longer rides means more deaths. The question is how far can you go vefore the public rises up? The city can raise taxes, but I suspect the general public would rather gamble on the deaths.

  36. Poncho says:

    I’m no Bloomburg fan but there needs to be cuts all around including generational welfare, fire, cops and ALL city workers including the overpaid teachers. This whole cooky will crimble within the next 12 months.

  37. William says:

    Now that charges like this are made public(and I feel rightfully so) how much will future lawsuits cost the city? Did Bloomberg think about that??

  38. Fred says:

    Maybe if the 4th floor door was closed, 5 minutes could have been bought…..
    Take responsibility for your selves.
    Millions of dollars will not make that much of a difference pf one does not do a few things themselves.

    1. William says:

      You are expecting the average citizen with loved ones(maybe kids) on the 4th floor with a 1200 degree fire cornering them and flooding their lungs with smoke, to think rational and calmly?? That’s where you put the blame?? I wonder if that was your mom or sister who tragically died, if you would feel the same way. Our elected officials shouldn’t mess with emergency services.. PERIOD!! Fire the tokenbooth workers and mandate EZ-Pass everywhere.. or another idea along those lines… He’s made billions in business, certainly he can come up with some other ideas!!!!!

      1. william says:

        (I meant tollbooth workers at bridges and tunnels.. not tokenbooth)

  39. 1608 says:

    Bill so now u r on food stamps. The dumb wants to know, how’s that workin?

    I don’t like goin 2 dat name callin s–t

    1. bill clinton says:

      i would never be on food stamps. If i couldn’t get a real job I would drive a taxi. when the government sets a base pay that you can get for doing nothing there is little incentive for people to work for less than the hand out. I would prefer to work for less than I would have to take from my fellow citizen. These people don’t care about us, they are just here for the hand out.

  40. jeanne jaeger says:

    No one mentions that a FDNY fire officer died @ the Brooklyn fire!! Why? I’ve watched on 2 different networks.

    1. BH says:

      Umm, because it didn’t happen.

  41. liberalsarestealing says:

    our country is bankrupt, we are spending more than we can take in. What do the “progressive’s” say? spend more for the children? we are giving billions in aid to foreign countries that hate us, when will this stop? I am so sick of watching immigrants that can’t speak English buying food with food stamps. How does this make sense, what year will the revolution come?

    1. 1608 says:

      So you don’t like immigrants who don’t speak english buying food with food stamps?

      Okay I will teach them english feel better now?

      1. bill clinton says:

        when I had a job I made 1000 a week and paid 400 in taxes so some family can come over from Zimbabwe and eat Twinkies. That makes sense. People that come here should not be able to get social services until they have had a job for a few years, and paid into the system. how dumb are you this is an unsustainable system?

  42. pogressiveforthechildren says:

    an old lady was run over while crossing the street. It was due to budget cuts. If the millionaire’s would only pay their fair share. Anyone still buying this?

  43. liwingnut says:

    DId you expect any other response from the UNION ?

    1. darrin says:

      5 minutes likely would have made all the difference before the windows failed and the wind blew in creating the blowtorch effect. The damage would have been less. Fewer families would be homeless, and a woman could still be alive. But thats ok to you rich union haters, as long as these incidents happen in poorer neighborhoods like flatbush.

  44. pat says:

    So does this mean that Bloomberg is really a “SERIAL KILLER”?

  45. Ellen says:

    Billionaires living in New York should give some of there millions to help out with stuff like this. Why not give to the police and fire departments in order to keep society safe from crime and fire.

  46. Fox Mulder says:

    I think the real question here is what is Bloomberg’s true agenda.

    It’s not about doing the right thing for NYC – that is obvious. He could care less about the general population.

    It’s not about money – he has all the money he could want.

    It’s not about political ambition – he has no prayer of ever serving in another public office given his abysmal approval rating with the people.

    Once we can answer this question, then we will be on to something.

  47. 1608 says:

    So why did ppl die n other fires u know b4 the cuts?

    1. Abi says:

      Yes people have always died in fires. But we are now beginning to see and increase. And sadly we will probably see an increase in the number of firefighters being seriously injured and even killled. Mayor Bloomberg and the media that supports his agenda only care about money. It is their only concern. In effect Mike Bloomberg has put a dollar value on the lives of every New Yorker.

  48. Sanitation Officer says:

    Well i guess money covers up murder
    All those people who died by the snow storm because the street where not cleaned is also part of the people who got killed thru Bloomberg

  49. Abe Benesch says:

    So according to the UFA, Mayor Bloomberg is responsible for the death of Mary Feagin. That is a heavy charge. Thus, it would make sense that Bloomberg would order the FDNY to make the statement contradicting the UFA.

    Michael Bloomberg must be the most hated man in NYC. Funny thing is, he couldn’t give a damn.

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