The FDNY has reassigned three officials and ordered more thorough inspections of all construction sites following the tragic department blunders that led to the deaths of two firefighters.
The announcement comes just hours before an afternoon press conference during which Mayor Bloomberg and top FDNY brass officials are expected to say that it was smoking—which was not allowed on the site—that sparked the tragic blaze at 130 Liberty Street, the contaminated former Deutsche Bank building that was being demolished.
The New York Post reported Monday that Deputy Chief Richard Fuerch, one of the FDNY officials being demoted, received a memo two years ago that presented a strategy for fighting a fire at 130 Liberty. The memo, according to the Post, recommended that three members of the FDNY investigate the situation before further action was taken. Instead, more than 100 firefighters rushed in to the building.
The full FDNY memo follows:
Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta has ordered the following actions in connection with the fatal fire at the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street in Manhattan:
- Pending the outcome of the investigation, the following fire officers are relieved of their commands and detailed to Headquarters: Deputy Chief Richard Fuerch, Commander, Division 1; Battalion Chief John McDonald, Commander, Battalion 1; Captain Peter Bosco, Engine Company 10
- Deputy Chiefs in the Department*s nine Divisions have been directed to order surveillance by every fire unit in their respective administrative areas of all buildings under construction/demolition. The purpose of these inspections is to insure that all rules and regulations regarding fire protection and public safety are being adhered to.
- Divisions are also ordered to review all existing pre-fire plans in their respective administrative areas, and to have units and Battalions canvass their areas for any potential structures that might require the creation of such plans.
- Borough Commanders are ordered to oversee and coordinate all field fire inspection activities in their respective boroughs.
- The Chief of Operations will conduct a review of the Department*s field inspection program with emphasis on insuring accountability at all levels and making recommendations to strengthen and improve the quality and frequency of inspections by field units.