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After Fire, Union

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Flames shoot from the Church Street home where fire broke out Tuesday. (Facebook photo)

ONEONTA – Following Tuesday’s housefire on Church Street, the Oneonta Professional Firefighters union today called for an increase in staffing “to help keep the … community safe.”

In a press release, the OPF called for:

  • At least six trained firefighters/EMT’s on duty, 24/7, and
  • At least three personnel, trained at EMT level or higher, responding to each medical emergency.

On Monday, there were only five firefighters on duty, the union said in a press release. One member was located in Binghamton for mandatory training.

Due to the City’s failure to backfill for the mandatory training, and authorize the Oneonta Professional Firefighters to maintain standard operating procedure of six firefighters on duty every day and at all times – the fire station was understaffed by one member at the time of the fire.

At the time of the structure fire, three of the firefighters were already responding to an ambulance call and smelled smoke nearby. They drove down Church Street and saw flames through windows on the second floor of a home and immediately contacted the station by radio to report the fire.

The two remaining firefighters on duty responded from the station with an engine to the scene. Within 10 minutes, six off-duty firefighters responded with the 1642 ladder truck to assist on-duty members, and soon after that, an additional four off-duty firefighters responded to assist.  The initial failure to respond with the minimum number of trained personnel, and the 10 minute delayed response, could have cost lives and certainly contributed to increased property damage.

“We are thankful there was no one in the structure at the time of the fire and that all of our firefighters, along with mutual aid, were able to contain and extinguish the fire safely,” said Andrew Turner, Local 2048 President.


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