City of Newburgh considers new changes to the fire department

The city first discussed the idea of adding volunteers to its paid department last year. It came after a fatal fire caused scrutiny over cost-saving measures that cut the minimum number of firefighters on duty from ten to seven.

News 12 Staff

Feb 10, 2023, 11:07 PM

Updated 473 days ago

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News 12 has learned that city of Newburgh leaders are taking steps to create a fire commissioner position and bring on volunteer firefighters. 
The city first discussed the idea of adding volunteers to its paid department last year. It came after a fatal fire caused scrutiny over cost-saving measures that cut the minimum number of firefighters on duty from 10 to seven. 
Local Union 589 President Dany Camacho says the potential changes are out of touch with the needs of the department and city residents. 
“A fire commissioner does not put boots on the ground. It does not put people in burning buildings. It does not save anybody," said Camacho.
Camacho says the department is operating at half of the nationwide industry standard to properly respond to a fire at a single-family home. 
He also said the city has two existing deputy fire chief positions that have been unfunded for thirteen years.
City of Newburgh Chief of Staff Mike Neppl says the city approved funding for a fire commissioner position in its 2023 budget. He says despite information given to News 12, the city is not considering adding volunteers to its department at this time. 


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