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Debate over use of helicopter for NYC skyscraper fires

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The firefighters' union says the Fire Department of New York should own a helicopter to help put out skyscraper fires; but the department says that's a bad idea.

"It is a disgrace that the city of New York does not have a helicopter that can put water on a fire," says Steven Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

"It is simply unsafe to use helicopters to suppress high-rise fires in New York City, and the Fire Department has repeatedly rejected that idea due to many operational concerns," the department responded in a statement on Wednesday. "However, helicopters have proven to be a valuable resource for surveillance and we have established a protocol with the NYPD."

The department said that on Aug. 18, a battalion chief was sent up in a police helicopter to monitor the fire at the former Deutsche Bank building at ground zero, where two firefighters died.

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