The start of the barbecuing season - and the rest of the year - get bad news: Response times from the Fire Department have risen over the past eight months. Since last year, structural fire response time is 18 seconds slower, with an average response time of 4 minutes 35 seconds, while the FDNY response time for any incident averages to 5 minutes 27 seconds. FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta blames fire union bosses, for using "scare tactics" to have drivers slow down (ever since a truck crashed into an SUV while responding to a call, with an SUV passenger dying, drivers have been more cautious). Another possible reason for slow response time is the that fact firehouses close when their firefighters are going to training.

There's nothing quite like the blame game when you're playing with fire and lives. We wonder how this will affect the annual number of fire deaths which approached record lows last year.