Yesterday, a 3-alarm fire in Brooklyn left one civilian critically injured and an elderly woman dead. Officials say it took about 130 firefighters to control the blaze, and a UFA rep says that it wouldn't have been nearly as bad if it weren't for Bloomberg. UFA President Steve Cassidy said in a statement, “One person lost their life, another is in critical condition and seven firefighters are hurt and countless are homeless in the wake of FDNY staff reductions mandated by the mayor."
Officials confirm that four of the first five companies to respond had lost a firefighter because of staffing and budget cuts, and Cassidy explained, "Reducing engine company staffing by one firefighter doubles the time it takes to begin getting water on a fire and allows fires to double in size every minute. The mayor is playing Russian roulette with New Yorkers lives." Fire unions are currently trying to appeal the cuts, which removed a firefighter from 60 of the 194 engine companies in the city. However, FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon said the cuts weren't to blame. "The changes in staffing levels had nothing to do with this unfortunate tragedy," he said. "These guys did about as good of a job as could be done."
Gribbon noted that at least two engine companies responded in about five minutes, which is faster than the FDNY's average response time. He also said, "Reducing the staffing on [all] the engines from five to four [firefighters] is preferable to closing firehouses."