New York City's fire department, typically immune to the budget axe, is undergoing sweeping cutbacks, affecting both personnel and firehouses. But as political reporter Dave Evans tells us, this may not be the end of the belt tightening.
Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, FDNY: "We consider them part of the fire department family. I hate to let any one of them go."
For FDNY commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, these are not good times. As part of the mayor's budget cuts, his department announced the layoffs Tuesday of 382 civilian, nonuniform employees.
Commissioner Scoppetta: "It's absolutely necessary. We had targets. We all had targets to meet, and the fire department has to be part of that, unfortunately, I think. But that is the way it is."
A day later, the FDNY promoted and gave diplomas to 75 EMTs and paramedics. They are needed, and for now don't face layoffs. Still everyone thinks about it.
Sarita Gallo, EMT: "We came out, they told us maybe we wasn't going to have a job, maybe we was, and we made it."
On top of layoffs, the mayor is pushing ahead on closing eight fire stations, even though FDNY unions predict higher response times as a result.
On Tuesday, one of the engine companies slated to close helped rescue a woman at an apartment building in Williamsburg. Engine 212 is only a couple of blocks away.
Steve Cassidy, UFA President: "The first engine out, 212, actually saved this woman. So if they were not there there's a good chance she'd be dead. That's going to happen. It's happened in the past when firehouses were closed."
The mayor presents his executive budget this coming Tuesday. It'll be difficult to cut anything further out of the Fire Department, but if Albany doesn't help more then more cuts are planned.