NEW YORK, NY December 02, 2009 -Starting today the city's Fire Department will be cutting staff size at about a quarter of its engine companies. The cuts are due to a higher medical absentee rate, which has cost the city increased overtime. Mayor Bloomberg defends the cuts.
BLOOMBERG: The fire department believes that they can provide the security that the city needs. And in any case. We're always making decisions as to how much we can afford.
REPORTER: The Fire Department says 49 of its 194 engine companies will be staffed by four people, instead of five. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer joined the firefighters' union in criticizing the cuts, saying firefighters would be placed in greater danger.