4 NYC Fire Officers Punished For Shirking Inspection Duties

NY Post - November 18, 2009


Four officers at fire companies in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx are being docked pay and reassigned to fire headquarters for failing to carry out building inspection duties, officials said today.

Two captains and two lieutenants failed to have their companies carry out three hours of weekly building inspections, as required by Fire Department regulations, the department said.

Instead, the officers and their inspection crews left their firehouses late, returned early, or spent inspection time on other activities, such as shopping at stores.

"Inspectional activity is a crucial part of the job for firefighters and fire officers, and failure to diligently perform this work is a dereliction of duty that will not be tolerated," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said.

Lt. Edward McNulty of Ladder Co. 152 in Fresh Meadows, Queens was docked 10 days' pay because his company missed more than two hours of its scheduled three-hour inspection period.

Two officers from the same fire house - Capt. Patrick Gleason of Ladder Co. 45 and Capt. Gregory Wellbrock of Engine Co. 93, both in Washington Heights - were docked five days pay. Ladder 45 missed 90 minutes of inspection time, and Engine 93 missed one hour of time.

Lt. George Feller of Ladder Co. 32 was docked five days' pay because members of his company in Williamsbridge, the Bronx missed more than one hour of inspection time.

Two other unnamed officers have had discipline letters placed in their personnel files for failing to conduct inspections.

Union officials did not directly address the disciplinary action.

But Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Alexander Hagan said the department needs to do a better job training firefighters in how to conduct building inspections.