According to the nypost, the firefighter, nicknamed, ‘Tragic Johnson’ has managed to avoid having to battling flames since joining the Canarsie, Brooklyn firehouse last year along with alienating fellow firefighters who want to know how the man, ‘a priority hire’ was allowed to join their ranks.
Offers one source: ‘To have a guy that you now have to be afraid is not going to be there for you when you need him to be — it’s frightening.’
According to the Canarsie captain, Tragic Johnson came to irk fellow fire fighters after noted to be AWOL during an April 2 three fire alarm blaze.
At the time the man had been assigned as ‘backup’ to the nozzle man carrying the hose into the burning two-story building.
That said photos would later show that whilst two other firefighters had risked their lives to charge up a staircase with Johnson as the point man, he had instead been standing by the curb.
Johnson told his colleagues that he’d returned to the fire truck to refill his air tank, a source said.
But sources said he never entered the blaze and should not have run low on air.
Tells one unnamed department source of the priority hire’s repeated absences: ‘It can’t be ignored,’
‘If they ignore it, some civilian will end up injured or killed, or a fireman will be injured or killed.’
Whilst another source told: ‘Everyone is concerned about working with him,’
‘We’re concerned for our safety, but we’re also concerned for his safety.’
Yet here’s the hitch.
Department heads are purportedly afraid to openly complain or criticize Johnson, who is black, because he was hired under a court order to increase minority hiring in the FDNY.
Johnson, 41, a former city EMT who earned two medals on that job, was among 282 ‘priority hires’— applicants passed over in 1999 or 2000 as a result of discrimination, a federal judge ruled.
His June 2, 2014, graduation class of 286 probationary firefighters was hailed as the most diverse in FDNY history — 24 percent Hispanic, 17 percent black and with four women.
While most priority hires have excelled Johnson tell insiders has ‘fumbled.’
Explains the nypost: It took him three attempts to pass the Fire Academy, they said, and he has been sent back for retraining twice. “He’s a nice enough person, but he’s certainly lacking in the ability to put himself in harm’s way,” one source said.
But it gets nastier too…
The fire boss who radioed the “mayday” — a rare code used only to signal a firefighter is lost in a blaze or in distress — knew Johnson had stayed outside but wanted to document his absence on the recorded transmissions, sources said.
After his weeklong retraining, a source said, Johnson indicated he didn’t want to return to the Canarsie firehouse but was ordered by department brass to do so.
Which has led to some wondering which way is up and is this higher ups gun ho about filling racial quotas?
Relents the source: ‘The department seems to not want to give a f–k about any of this because they want to fill their quota.’
Since joining the FDNY, Michael D Johnson’s salary has jumped from $44,520 he made as EMT in 2008 to $76,488 last year as a firefighter, according to See Through New York data.
Reached by the nypost, the firefighter declined to comment on accusations of being AWOL along with accusations that he had taken several days of medical leave for stress following the April 2 fire and several months medical leave after a fire in a six-story apartment building on Rockaway Parkway last July 4th weekend.
And now you get to make your mind up whether this is a hit job on the firefighter or just insiders showing their distaste for how things get done at the FDNY.
Comments the nypost: Insiders insisted they were not targeting Johnson because he was a “priority hire,” noting the Canarsie firehouse has black and Latino members and a female firefighter who are all highly regarded.
But Johnson’s advanced age as a rookie may have made it more difficult for him, sources said.
“He’s now in the position where he has to do a job that’s not meant for a 40-year-old to start,” one said. “He’s slow and he’s a danger.”
FDNY spokesman Jim Long would would offer: ‘Probationary firefighters receiving additional training, or going back for retraining, is a normal practice in the department.’
Officials noted that Johnson and other Fire Academy graduates remain under probation — and evaluation — for a year after they enter the field.
Those who do not successfully complete probation can be fired, officials said. Johnson will mark his first year as an FDNY firefighter in two weeks. Which raises the question will insider’s force department head’s hand and have Johnson fired. For his own good naturally ….