2011 FDNY Year In Review: New Efforts Diversify Potential Recruits
The New York City Fire Department observed many anniversaries in 2011, from a fire that changed safety standards 100 years ago to the fire that nearly decimated its ranks 10 years ago on 9/11, and the agency also attempted to diversify following accusations of discrimination. NY1’s Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
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2011 begins as 2010 ends, with the city unable to hire a new class of firefighters after a judge rules the last three entrance exams discriminate against blacks and Hispanics.
The Department steps up its recruitment efforts, and 41,000 people sign up for the exam, 51 percent of whom are white, 21 percent black, and 23 percent Hispanic.
Good numbers, the FDNY says, because of the 10,000-member department, blacks and Hispanics currently make up only nine percent of the rank and file.
“The numbers are good, but we want to make them better,” says Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.
Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis agrees, and that's why he orders policy and procedure changes to hiring.
He appoints a court monitor, Mark Cohen, a former U.S. attorney, to oversee the agency's recruitment and hiring efforts.
It's a move the city is currently appealing.
In 2011, the FDNY marks 100 years since the 1911 triangle shirtwaist fire. The workplace blaze kills 146, many of them women and children. The tragedy spurs labor reform and establishes fire codes.
Four years after a fatal fire, a jury clears all three construction supervisors at the former Deutsche Bank building of manslaughter charges in the deaths of firefighters Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia.
The verdict leaves a victim's father still searching for answers.
“I think that justice has not been served. We feel that the total investigation was not as full as it should have been,” says Joseph Graffagnino, Sr.
In the spring, thousands of firefighters march over the Brooklyn Bridge to protest the closing of 20 fire companies.
A last minute budget deal prevents that from happening.
Weeks later, the FDNY commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at the World Trade Center site and at firehouses all over the city.
Finally, a new fireboat called "Bravest" is christened. The nameplates on the boat are made with metal from the World Trade Center.