A simple change to FDNY protocols could help avert another disaster like the one that claimed the lives of two firefighters last August, says Uniformed Firefighters Association head Steve Cassidy.
In a letter to Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta last week, Cassidy proposed a new radio code to alert everyone at a fire scene when water is unavailable.
Often at fires, the ladder companies doing specific tasks like ventilating roofs or searching for victims don't realize that engine companies on the ground are having difficulty getting water on the flames.
Cassidy's proposal would send a radio code out every five minutes until such problems are resolved.
During the Aug. 18, 2007, fire that killed Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia, it took more than 60 minutes to get water flowing because of a severed standpipe in the basement.
The FDNY said Cassidy's "suggestions were under review."
Tomorrow's first anniversary of the fire, to be marked by a plaque dedication at Graffagnino and Beddia's firehouse, Engine 24/Ladder 5, will be an emotional event for Graffagnino's widow, Linda, and her two young children.
"I really don't know if I'm looking for anybody to apologize; it's not going to do me any good," she said. "I will be at my husband's firehouse with my family and friends and Joey's friends, attending the plaque dedication."
A grand jury probing the fire missteps could hand up indictments next month.
"I want those that are responsible for the condition of that building, for the condition of what those firefighters faced, to be held responsible and accountable," said Barbara Beddia, Robert's sister.
Republished with permission of The New York Post.