NYC firefighter who stepped over bodies on 9/11 retires due to mandate
NYC firefighter who stepped over dead bodies on 9/11 now says he’s been forced to retire because of city’s COVID vaccine mandate – even though he’s already overcome the virus
- Gary Debiase of Staten Island’s Ladder 109, 55, is retiring early and refuses to comply with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for city workers
- Firefighters told DailyMail.com that at least 150 other retirement-age firefighters were spurred to hang up their gear for good.
- ‘I’ll absolutely go back to work if they let me,’ Debiase told DailyMail.com. ‘Everybody is ready to work. Nobody wants to go home’
- A 23-year veteran of the FDNY, Debiase described stepping over bodies on 9/11: ‘if you step over anyone, see if they’re alive – if they’re not, leave them’
- His wife, Anna Rose Carpiento, has been out of work for five weeks due to vaccine mandates at her workplace, Bellevue Hospital
- The unvaccinated pair said they feel like ‘second-class citizens’ amid the city’s restrictions: ‘you can’t even sit down to eat – are you kidding me?’
- On Tuesday, the UFA said 60 firehouses were out of service – two days later, Commissioner Daniel Nigro said only 4 were closed, a below-average number
- On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said ‘a lot of it is misinformation’ is being ‘put out by people with an axe to grind’ regarding shortages related to the mandate
A NYC firefighter who worked at Ground Zero on 9/11 is now putting in for retirement because he doesn’t want a COVID vaccine, having already recovered from the virus.
Gary Debiase, 55, who served with Ladder 109 in Staten Island for 23-and-a-half years, told DailyMail.com that he still loves his job. But he added that outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s edict forcing all municipal city workers to have the shot by November 1 forced him out.
Debiase told DailyMail.com: ‘I wanna go back but I don’t want a shot. We’re in a position where we can go without for a few more weeks. Forcing someone to take a vaccine is coercion.
‘I’ll absolutely go back to work if they let me… Everybody is ready to work. Nobody wants to go home.’
‘My wife and I are in a position where we could hold out a few weeks but after that I’m going to put in for my retirement and that’s it.
‘I don’t want to retire. But they won’t let me work. They’re saying “you can’t go to a school”, “you can’t go to a hospital”, “you can’t do this, you can’t do that.”‘
Gary Debiase, 55 (pictured right), who served with L 109 for 23-and-a-half years told DailyMail.com of stepping over dead bodies on the day of the 9/11 attacks. He refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and was sent home from work on Monday as a result. Anna Rose Carpiento, 54 (left) has been out of her job as a sonographer at Bellevue Hospital for five weeks after she, too, refused the jab. The pair said they felt like ‘second-class citizens’
Both he and his wife, Anna Rose Carpiento, a sonographer at public Bellevue Hospital, lost their city jobs after refusing the jab, and say they feel like they are being treated as ‘second class citizens’ because they’re unvaccinated.
Speaking at an anti-vaccine mandate in Manhattan on Wednesday, Debiase told of stepping over dead bodies on the day of the 9/11 attacks: ‘I was knee deep in ash, and the chief said ‘if you step over anyone, see if they’re alive. If they’re not, leave them.’
On September 12, 2001, he went straight back to work despite the apocalyptical scene he described.
But on Monday, he was sent home from his Staten Island firehouse when he didn’t show up with a vaccine card in-hand.
‘I wanna go back but I don’t want a shot. We’re in a position where we can go without for a few more weeks,’ Debiase (pictured) told DailyMail.com. ‘Forcing someone to take a vaccine is coercion’
Firefighters told DailyMail.com that at least 150 other retirement-age firefighters were spurred to hang up their gear for good.
As of today, 21 percent of New York’s 11,000-strong fire department – approximately 2,310 people – are unvaccinated, and have been sent home.
That is a two per cent drop from the 23 percent of firefighters who hadn’t been jabbed on Monday, suggesting that de Blasio’s mandate is having some effect.
It is unclear whether firefighters who have applied for exemptions due to religious and other concerns are included in that number – their claims are currently being processed by the city.
Firefighters said that the city of New York was asking those who opted out of vaccination due to their religion to provide their place of worship on paperwork, then calling those establishments to verify that they were indeed parishoners.
As of today, 21 percent of New York’s 11,000-strong fire department – approximately 2,310 people – are unvaccinated, and have been sent home
Debiase, a life-long Staten Island resident, told DailyMail.com that he would get the jab if it were a ‘real vaccine’ – one that would come with a guarantee that you wouldn’t get sick – and fears the precedent that could be set by the city’s mandate.
‘In the end, if we don’t win this fight, they will do whatever they want from now on,’ he said amid a crowd of protestors at City Hall Park. ‘Mandates will be the new norm – Now you do this, now you do that.’
Scientists insist COVID vaccines are safe and effective – although ‘breakthrough’ cases of the virus who’ve already had the jab have gone some way towards undermining public confidence in them.
Debiase’s wife, Bellevue Hospital sonographer Anna Rose Carpiento, hasn’t been back to work for five weeks after refusing to comply with the mandate: ‘I don’t like anyone telling me what to do. I was never afraid of COVID in the first place.’
She is just three years off being able to retire, but now faces an uncertain future because of the vaccine mandates.
The pair said they had already contracted COVID-19 in August. Now, they said, they are ‘second-class citizens’ without a vaccine card in the city.
‘You can’t even sit down to eat. Are you kidding me? We made a sandwich at home because we can’t even sit in any of these places, we’ll eat it on the ferry on the way home.’
Since the mandate went into effect on Monday, the number of out-of-service firehouses each day has been difficult to ascertain. Union heads said at a Tuesday press conference that members of different firehouses were being ‘shuffled around’ to feign the impression that the majority of firehouses are operational.
On Wednesday, it was reported that 12 had closed, while on Thursday, this number is said to have dropped to 10, although Mayor de Blasio said the number had dropped as low as four.
‘They can never get the media outside a firehouse saying “this fire house is closed,” one firefighter told DailyMail.com.
Protestors gathered outside City Hall Park on Wednesday to protest the vaccine mandate
On Tuesday, 60 companies were closed according to Andrew Ansbro, the President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, who said that the departments were ‘falling apart behind the scenes.’
City Hall and the FDNY won’t confirm exactly how many people the force is down but the union said on Monday they expected it 1,700 firefighters going on unpaid leave.
Today, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said that only four of the city’s 350 units were out of service, and that as many as 20 units can be out of commission on a typical day for maintenance or to be used for training.
When a ‘very difficult’ fire broke out on Lenox Road in Brooklyn on Wednesday morning, the third major fire throughout the city that day, 150 firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Firefighters told reporters that units surrounding the incident – Engines 249, 310 and 248 – were all out of commission at the time.
The apartment complex at 222 Lenox Rd houses 168 apartments, according to building records, and a number of firefighters told DailyMail.com that the shortage in firefighters delayed the department’s response.
Mayor Bill de Blasio denied that claim, however, at a press conference on Thursday morning: ‘I think a lot of information is being put out. A lot of it is misinformation put out by people with an axe to grind.’
When a ‘very difficult’ fire broke out on Lenox Road in Brooklyn on Wednesday morning (pictured), the third major fire throughout the city that day, 150 firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Firefighters told reporters that units surrounding the incident – Engines 249, 310 and 248 – were all out of commission at the time
(L-R seated) Lt. James McCarthy, President of the FDNY-Uniformed Fire Officers Association, Edward Kelly, IAFF President, Andy Ansbro, President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association on Tuesday morning
Around 2,300 firefighters were off work on Monday, as a rule enforcing COVID vaccination. Monday’s deadline applied to all municipal workers, ranging from police officers to parks employees. Twelve firefighters from Ladder 29 in Mott Haven, in the Bronx, were sent home on Monday after reporting for duty unvaccinated
It is unclear how many of the firefighters who walked out on Monday (pictured) will lose their jobs, and how many will find a way around the rules
Mayor-Elect Eric Adams, who won Tuesday’s election with 68 percent of the vote, said on Tuesday that he would ‘revisit’ De Blasio’s vaccine mandates upon taking office on January 1:
‘We can work this out,’ he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. ‘This is a very difficult moment but there’s an opportunity to sit down with the unions. I communicated with some of the union leaders yesterday and they are open to sit down.’
One firefighter told DailyMail.com that Adams’ response ‘gave him hope’ – another said it was ‘too little, too late.’
Mayor-Elect Eric Adams (pictured), who won Tuesday’s election with 68 percent of the vote, said on Tuesday that he would ‘revisit’ De Blasio’s vaccine mandates upon taking office on January 1
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