Press Releases

For Immediate Release: August 21, 2007

Firefighters Union Calls on Attorney General Cuomo to Lead Independent Investigation Into Deutsche Bank Fatal Fire

The Uniformed Firefighters Association today called on New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to conduct an independent investigation to determine the facts surrounding the deaths of two New York City Firefighters this past Saturday at the long condemned Deutsche Bank building, adjacent to the World Trade Center site.

"Two of our firefighters died protecting what is essentially a vertical Love Canal which was abandoned years ago. An independent investigation needs to move forward, subpoenas need to be issued and people must be compelled to give testimony under oath," said Steve Cassidy, UFA President.

Cassidy also said that the Fire Department should not and can not realistically conduct its own investigation. The union says independent investigators need to examine not only the FDNY's actions, but all of the facts, from the various agencies involved and the role of contractors.

"We are calling on Attorney General Cuomo to lead an independent investigation into how two firefighters died on Saturday and scores of others were injured, as well as all of the circumstances leading up to this horrible tragedy. New Yorkers and our firefighters need to know the truth."

The UFA leader pointed out that this will obviously be a very complex investigation. "The Attorney General has demonstrated his ability to handle such a significant investigation and we are placing our faith in his office."

The union also expects there to be a parallel criminal investigation by the District Attorney.

"Firefighters weren't just fighting a fire in a vacant building, but were sent into a highly contaminated structure being torn down floor-by-floor, because it is a toxic legacy remaining from the 9-11 attacks that could not be fixed and was a threat to the surrounding community"

Amazingly when union leaders met with the Fire Commissioner Scoppetta and his staff Monday and asked if the department had a pre-fire plan for this building, the FDNY said, they didn't know. When asked if they would send firefighters in again, if there happened to be another fire in that building and on the same floor, the department said, they weren't sure.