2014-04-25 / Columnists

Eye On Rockaway

Accountability
By Miriam Rosenberg

Looks like the FDNY has clammed up since reports surfaced about a possible eight minute delay between the time firefighters confirmed the fatal fire at 10-31 Bay 30th Street and an ambulance was dispatched to the location on Easter Eve.

While most of the information regarding the fire had been made public over the weekend, The Wave was unable to get specific details from the FDNY on Monday or Tuesday. Basic details are usually given out within hours of a fire - - the time the fire was called in, the time it was under control, how many units and firefighters responded, and if there were any injuries.

When this paper did receive an email reply, an FDNY representative on Tuesday simply said, "The Incident (calls, dispatching of units, the response of units and the operations on the scene) is under investigation."

Which doesn't make any sense since as I said, most, if not all, of that information was released and reported directly after the fire. In addition, on Monday the New York Times website reported on a press conference given by FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano. He admitted that there was a time lapse between when firefighters confirmed the fire and when an ambulance was sent.

"An ambulance should be dispatched at that time [of confirmation]," Cassano said on Monday. "It wasn't, and we're looking into it."

The protocol is for firefighters to confirm a fire by calling an FDNY dispatcher at 911, who contacts an emergency medical dispatcher, who sends out an ambulance. Apparently there was a communications breakdown between confirmation of the fire and when the ambulance was sent out. That needs to be fixed. Also a question: Are there too many steps between confirmation of a fire and dispatching an ambulance?

We'll never know if the two 4-yearolds, Aniya and Jai' Launi Tinglin, who died in the fire, could have been saved if the ambulance was sent sooner. But we owe it to them and their families to find out what happened, why, and fix it. ************************************

When an outsider says I have a stake in the rebuilding of Rockaway, do you believe it? That is pretty much what Greg Clancy, who was a senior vice president of Capital Programs with the Economic Development Corporation and the lead for the city on the rebuilding of the boardwalk, told residents at an information session in Rockaway on March 26.

About having stakes in the project Clancy said, “So [the city] can can me if we don’t fulfill the obligations when the federal government audits us at the end of the day, and they don’t pay the city. So when the new first deputy mayor says ‘Greg, you know if you screw this up, the federal government won’t pay us back, the city takes it on the chin for $274 million, and you’re fired.’ OK, so there’s a little accountability there too.” He added those involved were not just civil servants who give "lip service and we go home and we don't think about it."

Two weeks after giving that speech to Rockaway residents Clancy left his city job to join RXR Realty as vice president of development. So who and what do Rockaway residents believe? Where is the accountability now?

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