(Big League Politics) – The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) closed down 26 fire companies citywide on Saturday due to staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to numerous angry elected officials, who ripped the move as “unconscionable” — and warned it will have catastrophic consequences.
The shutdown comes as City Hall on Monday announced they will officially start forcing all city workers to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 shot. Many firefighters are resisting the jab, with many reportedly saying they have “natural immunity” after getting sick with the virus prior. According to reporting by Reuters, more than 1 in 4 (28%) firefighters did not take a COVID-19 shot once the mandate’s deadline hit — making for a huge forced shortage of essential workers.
Nicole Malliotakis (R-SI, Brooklyn) said that 26 fire departments shut down — five in her district — and blamed Mayor de Blasio for his incompetence.
“If someone dies due to a slower emergency response, it’s on Bill de Blasio and his overreaching mandates. I hope this fool fixes it ASAP!” she posted on Twitter. Residents reportedly gathered together outside of the Ladder Company 149 in Dyker Heights in support of the mandate resisting firefighters.
Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said the department “has not closed any firehouses.”
“Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow Firefighters,” Nigro said. “They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions.”
Information provided by Malliotakis and Councilman Joe Borelli (R-SI) citing the Uniformed Firefighters Association showed shutdowns of essential fire fighting stations throughout various boroughs of the city ranging from Engine Co. 55 in lower Manhattan, to Engine Co. 234 in Crown Heights, to Engine Co. 231 in Brownsville. Others included Ladder Co. 128 in Long Island City and Engine Co. 158 and Ladder Co. 78 on Staten Island, the New York Post reported.
“We’re f- -ked. We are going to toast like marshmallows, said retired electrician Vinny Agro, 63, who lives across the street from now-offline Engine Co. 284 in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. “It’s another sad day for New York City.”
“Most of the houses here are semi-attached frame houses. You throw a match on it, and it goes up real quick,” said another man living next door to Agro. “You need a quick response . . . it’s scary.”
A memo sent to members of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association on Friday said it was “still in negotiations… for an extension to the deadline as well as alternate methods of implementation.”
De Blasio has held to his belief that his constituents should be forced to make a choice between putting food on the table or giving up their bodily autonomy, saying Thursday that the city would not extend the jab deadline.