Monday, December 22, 2014

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The Call Blog: Fire Response Under Investigation; Questions Surround FDNY Commissioner

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Have something to tell us at The Call? Drop us a line at and we'll post it to our blog.

Why did it take several minutes to relay a simple request? That question will be answered eventually. And let's hope it leads to an improvement in the emergency response system. No matter who is in charge of the FDNY.

An investigation is underway into the emergency response to a deadly fire in Queens that killed two children late Saturday night. Firefighters were heard screaming at EMTs to "stop walking and run" when they arrived at the scene. Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano said today, "When we have what we call a 'working fire,' an ambulance should be dispatched. And it wasn't dispatched at that time."

When asked about the job security of Commissioner Cassano, Mayor de Blasio would only say that "he's performed admirably" in an "interim role." More than 100 days into his administration, de Blasio still hasn't said Cassano will stay on the job permanently. The Mayor gave no timeline on when he would announce who the next fire commissioner will be. What do you say?

What question do you want answered in the response to the deadly fire in Queens? Do you feel help comes quickly when you call 9-1-1? Would you want to see Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano stay on the job? Are you concerned Mayor de Blasio hasn't yet decided who is best suited to lead the FDNY?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

My name is Albano ive worked EMS for 21 years....I been in apartments.. Where we have to move Garbage to get to the Patients. . Cassano should stay on the job...EMTs are not trained to run into a Burning building. .

As a retired Firefighter I can say that when you lose someone at a fire you take that home with you. Especially if it is a child. The FDNY is unique in that the entire command structure is made up of officers who have taken promotion exams including the Chief of Department. Want a new Commissioner,that is his choice. As far as diversity,the FDNY has had three minority Commissioners -Lowery, Beekman,and Rivera. The PD has had two-Brown and Ward. In closing, the Mayor should choose the most qualified person regardless of race or gender.

Queens Village

I don't believe that it's the Fire Commissioners job that is at question, as a previous caller stated. It's about the EMS response to to the scene that is at question being they are trained in the field of savings Lives ! not delivering pizza. That is a job that has to be of passion and not just a pay check paramedics must realize people are there hope of survival in a fatal situation. My deepest sympathy to the family

Tonya From Harlem

Bring back Dan Nigro. He responded under duress on 11 September 2001. An intelligent man who the firemen respect. A great New Yorker.


Only God can help us. It is a rotten system all around. The heads of the dept. might have good intentions but the people doing the jobs simply don't care!


I'm in agreement with you John that we should not be criticizing the parents at this time. This tragedy does not mean that the parent was negligent. There are a lot of things we don't know at this point. Its easy to point fingers when you haven't experienced something like this.


Leave "Sal" Alone - However, its time to treat EMS as equals! This tragedy is another example of how equally important their roll is. The delivery of Prehospital Care in the Rockaways pose significant challenges overall; This is a very unique area of our city. My heart goes out to the victims. Let's respect and give the appropriate tools to our EMS colleagues as our Fire Colleagues have; Equal rights for both agencies. Change is needed!

Dr. Lou - Forest Hills

The first thing that came to mind when I heard today about a possible delay in the ambulance response to that fire was whether the ambulance crew was based at the same place (Jamaica Hospital?) as the EMTs involved in that upstate murder/arson that was reported in the Sunday New York Times magazine last week. It sounded like there was a lot of irresponsible behavior (drugs, sex with each other, lying) among EMTs at that location; so much so that it made me think to myself "good grief I hope I never have to rely on people like that to rescue me."

Ellie - Turtle Bay

From Lenny Ozone Pk.

Bring back Howard Safir as the Fire Comm.

Thank you. Lenny.

The problem seems to be the ems. Not arriving on time to the scene in this case of the queens fire. And listening to the bystanders video tape you can hear the frustration from the firefighters once the ems arrived.

Dee Dee

De Blasio said he is replacing Cassano. He did an ok job but a new leader is needed to bring the FDNY forward. There was too much racism and sexism under Sal Cassano.

Staten Island

Why is it that there is no accountability on the parents who let the children get their hands on the lighters? People are so quick to blame the rescuers but never look at the initial fault here. This would never have happened if poor parenting were not at play. The people love to play innocent when it's their fault as parents to begin with.

Andrew - Sunnyside

Stop Procrastinating !! This Mayor needs to appoint a Fire Commissioner and other department heads. His procrastination in making appointments is mind boggling. He should also appoint experienced managers and not advocates to run agencies.


Hi John,

This mayor has no class at all and seems to be running this city on a whim. What has he got against Cassano? The sanitation commissioner was not treated in this manor and he was responsible for some deaths in that huge snowstorm. No one in the last administration called him on it. That includes the city council members and the mayor himself that served in the last administration. If this mayor is so dead set against this fire commissioner then why is it taking so long to replace him. More importantly = What were these children doing playing with a cigarette lighter.

Thank you John,


Sounds like a major screw up with horrible consequences. But one must ask also, were there fire and/or smoke detectors in the house.


Hi John

Mayor Diblasio needs to get rid of the fire comissioner i remember the ambulances took to long for Ariel Russo the little girl that was killed by a out of control driver and she died. Where were the kids parents and why in the heck were the kids playing with lighters and why didn't the house have smoke detectors, some parents don't deserve to be parents they don't give a dam about their kids the kids come first. All lighters and matches should be in a safe place away from kids and all apartments and houses should have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector


When someone dies we can always look back and say what we could have done better... At this point let the investigation provide answers. Finally, let us work together and prevent the fires that can cause death and hopefully we can avoid this situation.

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