Deutsche Bank Fire InterviewsThere are several simultaneous investigations proceeding as a result of the fatal fire at the Deutsche Bank Building on August 18, 2007. The Fire Department Safety Battalion is nearing conclusion of its initial interviews. However, the Bureau of Fire Investigation, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the New York State Attorney General's Office are still investigating. We also believe that an investigation may be started by the N.Y.P.D. Furthermore, both NIOSH and PESH always investigate fatal fires. Members who are asked to give interviews or statements about their knowledge of the fire or the conditions in the fire building before the fire should be aware of their rights. Our counsel advises:
1. Pursuant to the Individual Rights' provision under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, duly authorized representatives of the Fire Department (which would include the Safety Battalion and BFI) may interview members "during reasonable hours."
2. With respect to interviews by the District Attorney's Office, the Office of the Attorney General or the N.Y.P.D., no member is obligated to speak to any of those agencies. However, at least with respect to the District Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office, the UFA recommends cooperation with those agencies. However, before any member is interviewed by them, he/she should ask to have an attorney present to make sure that his/her rights are properly protected.
Joseph A. Miccio
Uniformed Firefighters Association