The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) is reported to be facing staffing shortages as an untold number of firefighters protest a city-imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate, one that’s fully supported by President Joe Biden.
Amid rumors of a “sickout” in the FDNY comes a tragic story: Early Saturday morning, a 7-year-old boy was pronounced dead from injuries sustained during an apartment fire in the city’s Washington Heights area, Fox News reported.
Firefighters reportedly arrived on the scene within minutes to extinguish the blaze before it spread, and everybody else in the apartment managed to escape with only minor injuries, save for the boy’s 54-year-old grandmother, who was transported to a hospital and is said to be in serious condition.
Boy dies in apartment fire
The boy, identified as 7-year-old Robert Resto, was found dead from severe burns inside the basement apartment of his grandfather, the apartment building’s superintendent, after he had apparently tried to seek refuge underneath a bed.
NYC’s WABC reported that fire began around 1:30 a.m. and appeared to have originated as an electrical fire in an overloaded power strip located within an illegally converted living space.
The outlet confirmed that firefighters had arrived quickly to put out the flames in what it described as an “all hands” situation that involved 14 units and more than 70 firefighters overall.
At least one of those firefighters was reported to have been injured during the incident.
“Respond to all calls”
Fox News reported just a day earlier of a rumored “sickout” involving FDNY members outraged over an impending deadline to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
There were reports that at least 10 companies had to be shut down Friday due to severe understaffing, but the FDNY insisted that no firehouses were closed. Still, the city’s fire commissioner, Daniel Nigro, called the situation “unacceptable.”
“The excessive sick leave by a group of our Firefighters because of their anger at the vaccine mandate for all city employees is unacceptable, contrary to their oaths to serve, and may endanger the lives of New Yorkers,” Nigro said in a statement, according to Fox. “Despite these actions by some, the Department will continue to respond to all calls for help that come our way.”
As to whether the alleged “sickout” had any impact on the FDNY’s ability to handle the overnight fire that killed the young boy, the New York Daily News cited department officials who said “the widespread sick-outs didn’t affect the FDNY’s response to Saturday’s fatal blaze.”
In fact, the first company to arrive at the scene, Ladder 45, had reportedly just finished up rescuing two other people from a separate fire earlier that afternoon.