NYC has issued a state-wide call for firefighters from both Long Island and Upstate New York as one-third of city firefighters remain unvaccinated ahead of the November 1 deadline, leaving 26 firehouses shuttered.
About 72 percent of FDNY workers have been vaccinated ahead of the November 1 deadline, meaning that up to 4,000 workers may be terminated from the department.
The message was sent through email as nearly 350 potential volunteer firefighters were tagged.
‘Good morning all,’ the email read. ‘We need to start identifying members of the service who are active volunteer firemen in both Long Island and Upstate counties in anticipation of the impending shortage for the FDNY due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
‘On a voluntary only basis operations is looking to have qualified members on standby to backfill firehouses if necessary.
‘Please get back to me as soon as possible with rank, years of fire service and training qualifications.’
A total of 26 New York firehouses have been forced to close after firefighters refused to get vaccinated ahead of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Monday deadline – and a seven-year-old boy died the following day as departments saw major staff shortages.
The Uniformed Firefighters Association revealed a list of FDNY stations that ‘have close due to no manpower’ and it includes six in Manhattan, nine in Brooklyn, three in Queens, four in the Bronx and four in Staten Island.
On Friday FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro warned that the effects of the closures could be catastrophic and ‘endanger the lives’ of city residents.
A day later Robert Resto, 7, was killed and his 54-year-old grandmother were seriously hurt after a deadly blaze engulfed their Washington Heights home around 1.30am Saturday.
Although an FDNY spokesman told the FDNY that the firefighters’ response time was not impacted by the firefighters who have yet to get vaccinated, just yesterday firefighters were reportedly calling out sick to avoid unpaid leave.
‘Is there a sickout?’ Not to my knowledge no,’ Andrew Ansbro of the Uniformed Firefighters Association said.
The grandmother was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center in serious condition.
Neighbors remembered the young boy as ‘sweet (and) joyful,’ adding that he was ‘always reading, holding the door, smiling,’ according to the New York Post.
FDNY officials said the apartment started in the back of the house’s basement – located at 660 West 178th Street – and spread to the first floor.
Three other people inside the house – including one firefighter and the boy’s father, according to a GoFundMe page – also suffered minor injuries and were taken to New York Presbyterian-Columbia Hospital.
All municipal workers have been ordered to show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine by 5pm Friday or risk being placed on unpaid leave come Monday.
And despite 26 stations being shuddered today, the FDNY has said it is not closing any firehouses for good.