Two Firefighters' Unions Sue City Over Plan to Downsize Engine Companies

NY 1 - February 01, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned today that legal action brought by two unions representing firefighters could have disastrous results for city firehouses.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association have filed a lawsuit, saying the New York City Fire Department's plan to downsize 60 engine companies by one firefighter violates a safety agreement.

The Fire Department says sending out four firefighters instead of five will save about $30 million in overtime.

Bloomberg says because of the budget squeeze, FDNY officials will have to spend less, like other city agencies.

"We think that we will win the lawsuit. And if we were to lose the lawsuit, I don't think there's any question we would have to close firehouses, which is the last thing we want to do," said the mayor.

The city law department says it will review the claim thoroughly.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association says fewer firefighter will result in more people being trapped in fires.

FDNY officials say they notified the union notice months ago that the five-firefighter practice would no longer continue.