The FDNY shut down 26 firehouses across the Big Apple as of 7:30 a.m. Saturday because of staff shortages caused by the vaccination mandate, The Post has learned.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican who represents Staten Island and Brooklyn, tweeted Saturday that five of the companies were in her district — and said it’s Hizzoner who could have blood on his hands.
“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 tweeted.
The shuttered companies included Engine 55 in Lower Manhattan, Engine 234 in Crown Heights, Engine 231 in Brownsville, Ladder 128 in Long Island City and Engine 158 and Ladder 78 in Richmond on Staten Island, according to an FDNY alert sent Saturday morning.
“Twenty six companies out of service is an unconscionable number,” said Councilman Joe Borelli, a Staten Island Republican who chairs the committee on fire and emergency management. “The firefighters who are unable to work have all been tested within the week and are not Covid positive, and I doubt New Yorkers care about the vaccine status of the person applying defibrillators to their chest.”
The FDNY’s vaccination rate was at 72 percent at the end of Friday. the city’s deadline for workers to get at least one shot of the Covid vaccine. The mandate is expected to be enforced beginning Monday. The NYPD’s number stood at 84 percent vaccinated.
The FDNY blamed the short staffing on firefighters calling out sick, with one insider saying “hundreds” of firefighters have been taking medical leave to protest the mandate.
“It’s definitely a sickout. It’s a job action,” the insider said. “If they call in sick they have to go to the medical office. The medical office is overwhelmed.”
More than two dozen FDNY members were seen leaving the department’s medical office at the MetroTech center in Brooklyn Saturday.
One EMT who was at the center for a checkup said people would be fleeing the FDNY.
“People that aren’t retiring or quitting right out are gonna be on unpaid leave like myself. There’s not going to be enough bodies,” said the 23-year-old EMT who did not want to give his name. “You know New York City, the call volume is high and the manpower in general is bad, without all this going on. We are always needing more people. It’s going to be a little crazy.”
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the excessive sick leave “unacceptable.”
A memo send Friday to the members of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association said it was “still in negotiations” with the Office of Labor Relations “for an extension to the deadline as well as alternate methods of implementation to maintain the safety of the public and choice for our membership.”
The memo, which was seen by The Post, advised all members, whether vaccinated or not, to report for duty when scheduled and to make notations in the fire company’s journal about why they were asked to leave.
De Blasio has held firm, saying Thursday the city would not extend the deadline.
Additional reporting by Steven Vago