NEW YORK [AP] — During a heat wave this past week that topped 100 degrees, city firefighters battled more fires than in any other week in the past 30 years, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of New York.
There were more than 8,700 fire incidents reported in the city between July 4 and July 9 alone. Of those, nearly 100 caused enough damage to make a property uninhabitable or cause injury. More than 470 firefighters were injured; few seriously.
Steve Cassidy, the association’s president, said the total number of incidents this week was 6 percent higher than normal and the number of serious fires had more than doubled.
Cassidy said that he didn’t know what caused the increase in incidents this week, but that the heat was only making it more difficult.
“These guys are operating in brutal conditions, in 100-degree weather,” Cassidy said. “Fighting fires in these conditions is incredibly debilitating.”
Fire Department spokesman Frank Dwyer said more firefighters were needed because of the heat.
“The extreme temperatures surely contributed to raising alarms,” Dwyer said. He said more firefighters were needed to rotate into and out of fires.
There was also an increase this week in medical emergency calls to the FDNY’s Emergency Medical Services department. On Tuesday, the department had a 21 percent increase in calls for help.