FDNY formally forbids use of hoses against unruly crowds

The department reportedly issued the order to its members amidst ongoing demonstrations in New York City


Kyle Lawson
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

NEW YORK — The FDNY has formally prohibited the use fire hoses to disperse unruly crowds, following several weeks of civil rights protests and rioting across the city that left several police officers and civilians injured.

“While the vast majority of these (protests) in NYC have not involved the response of the FDNY, there is the potential for civil unrest, or acts of violence causing immediate danger to our members,” reads an order obtained recently by the New York Post.

NYPD officers clash with demonstrators during a protest on July 25, 2020. The FDNY has formally prohibited the use of fire hoses on unruly crowds amidst ongoing demonstrations, the New York Post reports. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
NYPD officers clash with demonstrators during a protest on July 25, 2020. The FDNY has formally prohibited the use of fire hoses on unruly crowds amidst ongoing demonstrations, the New York Post reports. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

In 2011, firefighters came to the rescue of two police officers outnumbered in Mariners Harbor, in a scene so chaotic that members of the FDNY’s nearby Engine Co. 158 employed a truck-mounted deluge gun -- a water cannon -- to fend off the large group of teens.

That incident aside: “It has been the Department’s longstanding practice that hoselines should not be used in any offensive or defensive manner against people,” the FDNY memo reportedly reads.

If FDNY hoses ever are used during a police-involved incident, it only would be for extinguishing fires caused by acts of “sabotage,” such as Molotov cocktail, said Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

The NYPD has its own water cannons that can be used against violent crowds, mounted on a “disorder control unit” vehicle.

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©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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