by Joshua Rhett Miller / Metro New York
MANHATTAN As a firefighter continues to fight for his life after falling out of a 17-year-old ladder truck, the president of a firefighters’ union blasted the FDNY for using “old and unsafe” equipment.
“How can it be that a city with an annual budget of over $55 billion that the lives of firefighters and the citizens we are sworn to protect depends on apparatus built in the 1980s, when Ed Koch was mayor?” Stephen Cassidy, president of the 8,900-member Uniformed Firefighters Association, said Saturday in a statement.
Cassidy said the city has a flawed procurement process and takes too long to replace old rigs, like the 1988 truck assigned to Ladder Company 13 that Firefighter Joseph Moore, 26, fell out of as it turned onto Lexington Avenue from E. 85th Street on Friday evening. Moore, who suffered a fractured skull and was in and out of consciousness yesterday, remained in critical but stable condition last night at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“Taxpayers should be furious with the caliber of equipment the Fire Department is forcing its firefighters to operate with,” Cassidy said.
“Putting old and unsafe rigs and safety equipment on the streets endangers the lives of firefighters and civilians alike.”
The FDNY defended its procurement and maintenance procedures as “proactive,” and acknowledged “recent problems” the department has been having with Seagrave Fire Apparatus LLC, a Wisconsin firm that provides fire trucks to the FDNY.
“In fact, the FDNY has brought in both fire unions in an attempt to work together on this important task,” an FDNY statement read. “Steve Cassidy is disingenuous in his comments regarding this.”
The cause of the accident remains under investigation. The fire truck, a Mack Tower Ladder, was in use because the regular truck used by Ladder Company 13 was being repaired at the time. It has since been taken out of service, officials said.