A city councilwoman with oversight of the FDNY said Wednesday she’d like to see a “fair and thorough” probe of the use of firefighters to help dig out in front of Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro’s Queens home after the weekend’s big snowstorm.
Committee on Fire & Criminal Justice Chairwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens) said the action “raises concern about the appropriate use of city resources.”
“I trust the Department of Investigation will conduct a fair and thorough review,” Crowley said in a statement in response to questions about the incident.
Nicole Turso, a spokeswoman for the Department of Investigation, declined to confirm or deny a probe had begun.
The FDNY said Wednesday in a statement that units helped Nigro for about five minutes to open a path to the street through a snow berm in front of his Whitestone home — work that Nigro had already started himself.
“The firefighters that helped Commissioner Nigro finish digging through a 4-foot snow berm to get to his Department vehicle early Sunday did not miss any calls,” said FDNY spokesman Jim Long.
The FDNY said Nigro was due at the Office of Emergency Management for a briefing, and his driver contacted the nearby firehouse for help to make sure that the commissioner’s vehicle didn’t get stuck, as happened the night before.
According to the city Conflicts of Interest Board, “having your subordinates do free work for you that you would have to pay someone else to do” is against the rules.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, Monica Klein, said: “Most New Yorkers would agree the fire commissioner should not be snowed in during a citywide emergency.”
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said the inquiry by the DOI is “appropriate” but he defended Nigro.
“This is a hero of the city. This is an individual who was at 9/11, who led that department after 9/11,” Bratton said.
Nigro had retired from the FDNY as chief of the department in 2002 with a respiratory illness suffered at Ground Zero. Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014 appointed him commissioner.