Press Releases

For Immediate Release: October 9, 2007

Both City Fire Unions Say FDNY Brass Actively Seeking to Hinder Deutsche Bank Fatal Fire Investigation

Today the boards of both the Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association held a joint press conference to address the active effort by the Fire Commissioner and his staff to hinder the investigations and the cloud of scandal hanging over the FDNY regarding the fatal Deutsche Bank fire.

"The entire FDNY is suffering under the cloud of scandal and investigation," said Steve Cassidy, UFA President. "Now more than seven weeks after the tragedy the FDNY's own investigators have been forbidden to examine pre-fire issues which led up to the deaths of two New York City Firefighters."

"We find it incredible that when a pipe from the Deutsche Bank Building fell through the roof of the neighboring firehouse, necessitating a meeting with the FDNY's Manhattan Borough Commander, that even this did not prompt him to require an immediate building inspection before deconstruction work could continue," Cassidy said.

The UFA leader also pointed to recent actions by FDNY's top leadership, including having a chief escort the criminal attorneys hired by the city into Engine 10/Ladder 10 so he could download the company's computer hard drive.

Jack McDonnell, president of the UFOA said,"The Chief of Department advised all of his staff to cease email communication about the Deutsche Bank Building and then the Manhattan Borough Commander followed this by dispatching a similar order to Chiefs throughout Manhattan."

He continued, "The three reassigned Fire Officers are not the problem, it was the FDNY's responsibility to insist that all rebuilding efforts at the WTC site be placed before the FDNY at every stage. They abdicated control to the LMDC and did not exercise their authority as per the Administrative Code.

"The LMDC is nothing but a "hybrid" organization with no authority over the Fire Department and headquarters could not simply turn their back on the largest deconstruction project in New York City. Did they honestly expect things to return to normal when the Deutsche Bank Site was turned over to the LMDC after years of being declared toxic and off limits? Did they now expect the local units would assume the responsibility for inspecting the building without proper resources or equipment?"

Both unions agree that the current FDNY building inspection program is a failure, taking entire units out of service delaying emergency response and having a detrimental effect on manpower and safety of the field force. Both the UFA and UFOA recommended the need for a dedicated building inspection task force.