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FDNY clashes with volunteer department over responses

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said volunteers are "operating without the proper training, equipment and authorizations" and are endangering the public and city firefighters

By FireRescue1 Staff

NEW YORK — A volunteer fire department is vowing to keep responding in the Bronx despite threats members could be arrested.

The 60-member strong Aviation Volunteer Fire Department has been operating around the Classon Point neighborhood since the early 1920s, according to CBS New York.

FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano sent a strongly worded letter to Aviation Chief Romeo Toro following an incident Thursday at the scene of a bus crash.

The New York Daily News reported city firefighters responding to the call got into a dispute with Chief Toro and another member, who were already at the scene.

Police were called, and ordered the Aviation members to leave the area, according to the report.

Commissioner Cassano said in the letter the volunteers are "operating without the proper training, equipment and authorizations" and are endangering the public and city firefighters.

"The FDNY has advised its field personnel to prohibit AVFD from operating and to contact law enforcement if necessary," he wrote.

"We hereby demand that AVFD immediately cease its operations and discontinue making any representations that AVFD is authorized by the City of New York or the FDNY to provide emergency medical and firefighting services."

Chief Toro said his department is legitimate and has been approved by the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, according to CBS New York.

"Yes, we will risk arrest," the 28-year-old fire chief said. "We will continue to operate until we get a letter from the mayor or the Office of Fire Prevention and Control saying we can't operate."

Aviation Volunteer Fire Department Chaplain, the Reverend Marcos A. Miranda, said, "This sort of behavior toward our city's volunteer personnel is not acceptable."

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