New York Daily News

April 8, 2004

Firemen & cops bond

Bravest wade into crowd, aid officers

Daily News Exclusive


The city's cops and firefighters are burying the ax.

Two FDNY crews came to the rescue of a pair of Brooklyn cops being attacked by an angry mob on Sunday, earning the Bravest a top police union official's gratitude.

The display of camaraderie between the rival departments came as the cops tried to arrest a suspected abusive boyfriend in Bushwick. When the man resisted the two cops from the 83rd Precinct, a crowd gathered on Halsey St. to help him, officials said.

"As things were going from bad to worse, up rolled [the firefighters] to the rescue," Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, wrote in a thank-you letter to the city's largest firefighters union.

The firefighters, from Ladder Cos. 112 and 176, pulled the attackers off the two cops and formed a circle around them and the suspect until more police arrived, Lynch wrote.

Lynch praised the firefighters for their willingness to "put their lives at risk" to help the cops, adding: "We stand ready to return the favor."

Firefighter James Mills of Ladder 176 said it was clear the cops were in trouble.

"They were not in a good way," said Mills, himself a former cop. "There was a big crowd. ... It didn't look right."

"We got off the rig and we assisted these female officers [in putting] the guy in cuffs," Mills said. "We've all got to work together."

The incident stands in stark contrast to past battles of the badges.

Last June, firefighters and cops clashed during the rescue of a burglar trapped in a Queens chimney.

Two weeks later, firefighters accused cops of tossing a grappling hook into the water and knocking off the face mask of an FDNY diver looking for a drowning victim.

The NYPD and FDNY have yet to finalize procedures on how to work together during major emergencies.

Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy said Sunday's unified stand "proves that on the street, in times of crisis, firefighters and police officers work well together."