Update on UFA Actions in Regards to Fatal Fire at the Deutsche Bank BuildingThe UFA is providing this update to our members so that they are informed as to what actions we have taken following the loss of two of our Brothers at the Deutsche Bank fire. From the time of the first notification of the maydays being issued, UFA Board members were on the scene. Board members were present at the initial safety interviews and at the hospital. We understood this fire was anything but ordinary. Never before had we witnessed such a level of frustration and anger following the loss of brother firefighters.
In talking to firefighters and the family members of Brother Beddia and Brother Graffagnino it was decided that we needed to immediately make a public statement about the investigation of the fire. Based on the history of the building and knowing that decisions regarding that building went to the highest levels of the Fire Department, we called on NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to conduct an independent investigation of the fire and the events that led to the horrific loss of two of our Brothers.
We feel the Fire Department is incapable of investigating itself and the fact that so many local and state agencies were involved, we needed an outside investigator. UFA President Steve Cassidy highlighted this in the media and did an in-depth interview on NY1 regarding our call for an independent investigation. The UFA website has comprehensive coverage of the media clips.
Subsequent to our investigation, the Fire Commissioner made a knee-jerk reaction by lifting a Captain, Battalion Chief and Deputy Chief. We believe that they are being made scape-goats for the Department's failed leadership at the top. On December 7, 2004 the UFA delegates voted unanimously in a no-confidence vote against Commissioner Scoppetta. Our position has not changed. His tenure has been marked by continual failures. He is an ineffective Commissioner who only knows how to prosecute and not lead. His lifting of 3 line Officers is not surprising.
The UFA has reached out to the UFOA and we have offered our support in any manner to defend these 3 maligned Officers. We believe that by all accounts, the decision not to inspect 130 Liberty Street came from the top. The Department did not want to commit additional resources for a CFR-D run, much less an inspection. We will demand that those responsible be held accountable.
Currently there are additional safety interviews taking place. UFA Board members are present to protect our members. No member should make any statements to anyone unless a UFA Board Member is present. Please notify us if anyone attempts to interview you. As the Manhattan District Attorney and the New York State Attorney General's Office continue their investigations we will keep the membership updated.
Stephen J. Cassidy
Joseph A. Miccio