Press Releases

For Immediate Release: September 12, 2007

Firefighters Union Unveils Major High-Rise Building Fire Plan Rejected by Fire Commissioner Scoppetta

Despite Recommendation by Top Chiefs, 9-11 Commission & Available Homeland Security Grants, FDNY Commissioner Rejects Opportunity to Add Firefighting Helicopter Capability

Today the Uniformed Firefighters Association unveiled a power point presentation given by top FDNY commanders on March 24, 2005 to Commissioner Scoppetta. The presentation demonstrated that the FDNY needs firefighting helicopter capability that would have multiple uses, one of which would be to extinguish high-rise fires, plus have airborne rescue capabilities.

According to the FDNY Chiefs recommendation in the report, "The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the need for the Fire Department of the City of New York to acquire a helicopter as a regional resource for homeland security." The presentation was given to the commissioner just days following a (March 22, 2005) memo titled, "On-site inspection of the Duetsche Bank building" written by Chief William Siegel.

Following the helicopter presentation named, "FDNY Helicopter Project" the commissioner failed to act on any of his top staff's recommendations, despite their communicating that there was Homeland Security Funding available for the project.

It was during the 9-11 Commission hearings that the commissioner was asked, "If there is a fire on the 30th floor in a high rise building that cannot be extinguished and the exits are totally blocked, how do you rescue people?" This report by the FDNY's top chiefs was intended to be the answer.

One of the possible aircrafts reviewed by the Chiefs was the Sikorsky Firehawk, capable of holding 1,000 gallons of water, lifting 4.5 tons, among other capabilities, as well as delivering water onto a high rise building fire. Similar firefighting helicopters are already in use in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Tokyo.

"How on earth could the commissioner reject this important life saving tool, in the largest city in the nation post 9-11," asked Mr. Cassidy. "As we have highlighted since firefighters cast a vote of no-confidence against Nick Scoppetta's leadership on December 7, 2004, he continues to prove his inability to lead the New York City Fire Department. The rejection of this plan jeopardizes firefighter and public safety."