FDNY bust over booze
Find stash at firehouse in E. Harlem
By MICHELE McPHEE
DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU CHIEF
A surprise inspection at a Manhattan firehouse turned up a locker full of booze and prompted the reassignment of four FDNY commanders and the suspension of two firefighters, the Daily News has learned.
FDNY Capts. Al Hagan and Kerry Hollywood, along with Lts. Glenn Rohan and Joseph Patriciello, were bounced to other firehouses. Firefighters John Condon and Brian McParland were suspended after testing positive for drug use, officials said.
Condon and McParland could be fired.
"Firefighting is a dangerous occupation, and anyone impaired by these substances puts not only themselves, but their colleagues and the public, at risk," Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said yesterday.
"It will not be tolerated."
The inspection at Engine 53, Ladder 43 in East Harlem on Sunday night was the first since an embarrassing fight broke out at a Staten Island firehouse on New Year's Eve.
Police believe firefighters were drinking in that company's quarters before Firefighter Robert Silvestri picked up a chair and bashed colleague Robert Walsh in the face, several sources have said.
Alcohol is not allowed in FDNY quarters. Three other inspections in the past year have turned up nothing, Scoppetta said.
In East Harlem, civilian investigators broke into a locker and found a case of beer and dusty bottles of high-end liquor, FDNY officials said.
The company's firefighters insisted the alcohol was left over from a Christmas party they held at a nearby restaurant last month.
"This alcohol was in a locker, and it was dusty," said Uniformed Firefighters Association spokesman Tom Butler. "The department admits there was no alcohol consumed that night."
A high-ranking FDNY official confirmed that none of the firefighters appeared to be drinking on duty.
"There was no party going on in there," the source said. "Most of the guys didn't even know that the stuff was in the locker at all."
Once the inspectors found the stash of booze, everyone in the house was forced to undergo a drug test. Condon and McParland tested positive for "controlled substances."
Scoppetta issued a zero tolerance order for drug use in April 2003. Since then, a dozen people have been terminated for testing positive, Scoppetta said.