[cifnmedia] 6 Firefighters Put on Desk Duty After Fight

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 11:31:58 -0800 (PST)

6 Firefighters Put on Desk Duty After Fight

By Sean Gardiner and Glenn Thrush
Staff Writers

January 5, 2004, 9:43 PM EST

Four fire officers and two firefighters were put on administrative duties 
Monday in the aftermath of a brutal fight at a Staten Island firehouse on New 
Year's Eve that left one firefighter hospitalized in critical condition.

At first, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reassigned the probe to the city Department 
of Investigations, taking it from the Fire Department yesterday morning.

By the end of the day, the DOI and the Staten Island district attorney's 
office, which is taking the lead in the probe, had agreed to work together.

"At the request of the district attorney, the FDNY interviews have been 
postponed until we can complete our investigation," said Monica Brown, a 
spokeswoman for Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

The assault on Firefighter Robert Walsh occurred about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, but 
was not reported to police until 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police later arrested Firefighter Michael Silvestri and charged him with 
assault for allegedly hitting Walsh with a metal folding chair.

Among those reassigned were Capt. Terrence Sweeney, the highest ranking officer 
in the Tottenville firehouse at the time of the incident.

Also reassigned were Lts. Raymond Kane, Daniel Kenny and Gregory McFarland, and 
firefighters David Johnsen and Joseph Spitalieri.

Citing the investigation, the Fire Department declined to say why the six had 
been reassigned, and why more than a dozen others in the firehouse, which 
houses Engine Company 151 and Ladder Company 76, were not.

The mayor said earlier Monday that there were no plans to transfer any of the 
20 or so firefighters who were in the firehouse when the attack occurred.

"Let's wait and find out the facts," he said. "I know it's annoying that we 
have to wait. But everybody deserves to have a fair hearing and we should not 
do things precipitously.

"There's obviously something that took place that certainly never should have 
happened," he added.

Later, the department announced the transfers without explanation.

Staff writer William Murphy contributed to this story. 
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc. |  Article licensing and reprint options 

Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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