As Temps Rose, FDNY Battled Record Number of Fires

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A late-afternoon fire turned an East Village rooftop into a towering inferno on Thursday but, after going to three-alarms, firefighters were able to get it under control within a half hour.

    During a heat wave in New York this week that topped 100 degrees, city firefighters had it even worse.

    Firefighters battled more fires this week than any other week in the last 30 years, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of New York.

    There were more than 8,700 fire incidents 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 30 percent higher than normal and the number of serious fires had more than tripled.

    Cassidy said 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.