“The initial response [to the fire] was severely limited due to the Hoboken Fire Department having two companies on a mutual aid detail in Jersey City for nearly two hours without any backfill,” according to the letter signed by Matthew Markey, President of Local 1078, and Jason Cassesa of Local 1076.
The two categorized the situation as “unacceptable and grossly negligent.”
“Your unwillingness to heed the continuous warning of our locals and properly staff the Department has finally shown its disastrous results, as evidenced by the total loss of 300 Washington,” according to the letter to the mayor.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Public Safety Director Jon Tooke, and Fire Chief Richard Blohm issued a statement in response to the union's letter on Wednesday afternoon.
They first thanked the “heroic firefighters for their on Sunday evening.”
“It is unfortunate that union representatives have put out a statement attempting to exploit this situation before all the public safety issues have even been resolved,” according to statement from the administration. “It is important to remember that union leaders represent the interests of their unions, and their statement must be evaluated in that light.”
The statement from the administration says “a full complement of 20 firefighters were on duty Sunday night” - which is one more than the recommendation in a recent audit and one less than Blohm has stated he considers “optimal."
“The city will be conducting a complete after-incent review and will make appropriate decisions based on the actual facts after the completion of that review,” according to the administration's letter.
Watch the Hoboken Reporter this weekend for more. - Ray Smith