Atlantic City Fire Department Shortage Crisis Just Got Worse
The serious shortages that are plaguing the Atlantic City Professional Fire Department just got a whole lot worse.
Just 3 days ago, we reported that Atlantic City Engines # 7, 6, and 4 were down, along with the closing of another Atlantic City fire company.
As of yesterday, Sunday, May 1, 2022, you can add to that, Engine # 2 (pictured above).
We can provide the following update:
Engine 4 has been out of service. Engine 6 is now back in service since last week.
Engine 5 apparatus is out of service. The crew at station 5 is using a reserve piece from neighboring Ventnor City.
Engine 7 is closed down … with Engine 7 apparatus now being used at station 2 because Engine 2 is broken down.
We reached out last night to John Varallo, President of the Atlantic City Professional Firefighters Local # 198 for a comment.
Varallo confirmed that, “we have apparatus down, again. We have to close a company down for the night. We have no reserve pieces … they are all being used,” said Varallo.
In case you missed our recent report about critical staffing and apparatus shortages (prior to yesterday, here is a link to our coverage:
Last Friday, April 29, 2022, former Atlantic City Battalion Chief Tom Foley blew the whistle (on-air) regarding the breakdowns of Engines # 7, 6, and 4, saying:
Today, April 29th Atlantic City Fire Department has three Engine Companies out of service California and Atlantic, Annapolis and Atlantic, and Maryland and Atlantic. That means we have no fire apparatus to deliver water to the scene of a fire until a borrowed engine that's over 30 years old in Chelsea Heights and Indiana and Baltic to deliver water on a detailed basis. This is a disgrace what is the state and city Administration doing to the Fire protection of our citizens, Firefighters, and visitors. God forbid is it going to take a tragic loss of lives to stop the dangerous practice!
In the past 24 hours, it’s increased to four Engines out of service.
At this point, it’s reached beyond the critical phase of the potential dangers that are facing the citizens and visitors of Atlantic City.
Every single fire expert that we have spoken to in Atlantic City has said that an absolute catastrophe is awaiting the city and its residents. Each said how “lucky we are that it hasn’t happened yet.”
Varallo confirmed the following facts last week:
That Engine 4, which is located on California and Atlantic Avenues has been closed due to staffing shortages for the past few years. This has been felt.
It was closed due to decisions made during the state of New Jersey's takeover of Atlantic City.
Varallo advised that Engine 6, located on Annapolis and Atlantic Avenues is currently closed.
Further, Engine 7, located on Maryland and Atlantic Avenues is currently closed.
Varallo advised that “two members will be relieved and Engine 3, which is located on the Westside, along with an engine, at Maryland and Atlantic will run with 3 members instead of the minimum 4 member staffing,” said Varallo.
Varallo went much further, “This is an abomination and an example of a poorly executed plan, outright dangerous."
“Just yesterday, we had a fire on Sovereign Avenue… Engine 6 was first due, with a victim and currently, the only apparatus on that side of town is the engine that we borrowed from Ventnor … which is located over the bridge in Chelsea Heights,” said Varallo.
”Please be mindful that the members of engine 5 are riding in an open cab. It's so bad, that a suburban follows the engine with 2 members in it because it is unsafe this day and age to be in an exposed cab,” said Varallo.
“Response times will be greatly affected. This is not only dangerous for the residents and visitors but for the firefighters themselves," concluded Varallo.
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small has remained completely silent about the fire department staffing and apparatus (shortage) crisis.
From a professional fire department standpoint, Atlantic City is currently rolling the dice - in a gambling town - and operating on borrowed time.
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