Firefighting, Leadership

MA Firefighters: Victim Might Have Been Saved if Not for Cutbacks

A woman killed in an early-morning house fire might have lived if staffing for the Haverhill (MA) Fire Department’s rescue truck had not been cut, firefighters say.

Firefighters’ union President Greg Roberts spoke with the Eagle Tribune ( at the scene of a fatal triple-decker fire in the city. He said the mayor’s decision to cut two firefighters from the rescue truck meant that the vehicle arrived on scene staffed with only a single firefighter, who was tasked with trying to find the 84-year-old victim inside a fully-engulfed structure. The rescue truck arrived at the incident after Engine 1, which was tasked with getting water on the fire. Safety rules prohibited the firefighter from attempting to rescue the woman by himself.

Mayor James Fiorentini cut staffing on the rescue truck from three firefighters to one last week to cover a $200,000 deficit in the fire department’s overtime budget.

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