FDNY Fire Commissioner: Firefighters Fate Uncertain

June 7, 2005 -- The city's fire commissioner said yesterday that he hasn't decided the fate of a Bronx firefighter who crashed his rig while on cocaine - after an administrative judge ruled he shouldn't be disciplined because it was just a fender-bender.

Judge Kara Miller ruled Thomas Lennon should not have been drug-tested after the Feb. 21, 2004 crash because the smash-up didn't qualify as a "major accident" - the department's requirement for drug testing after an accident.

FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said that while he believes the crash wasn't a minor one - parked cars were damaged and two civilians and several firefighters were hurt - Miller's decision "is still under review."

Scoppetta, speaking at the Fire Academy on Randalls Island, said he needs more time to look over the judge's decision before deciding Lennon's fate.

Meanwhile, members of a new fire-engine company began their first day on the job in the Rossville section of Staten Island yesterday.

"We're delighted Rossville has an engine company there," Scoppetta said. "It's going to reduce response times."

The FDNY discovered emergency-response times in the growing neighborhood exceeded seven minutes - more than the citywide average response time of less than five minutes.

So, last month, with Mayor Bloomberg's blessing, the department decided to install Engine Co. 168 and assign firefighters to a $10.7 million stationhouse that opened just last year.

The city's Bravest will share the facility with an EMS battalion already housed there.

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