Clifton firefighters upset over ‘unhealthy’ living conditions

CLIFTON, New Jersey — It is just temporary housing for firefighters while their permanent firehouse is undergoing asbestos removal. But some in Clifton are crying foul.

“These are unhealthy conditions,” Mary Sadrakula, former Clifton City Councilmember, told PIX11. “They shouldn’t have to live like that,” she added.

Sadrakula is so upset by the conditions the firefighters from firehouse number 4 have to endure.
The four beds inside one trailer are 73 and a half inches long, even though one firefighter is 6 feet 4 inches tall.

"There is a double bed', Sadrakula said, 'if the full crew of six shows up for work."
"There’s only a tiny bathroom inside,' she continued, 'and larger port-a-potties outside."

“This is made for a husband, wife and two kids to go to Yellowstone,” Henry Cholewczynski, Clifton retired deputy chief, told PIX11. “This isn’t right for work,” he added.

Both the retired deputy chief and the former city council member claim the trailer is in violation of city codes.

They are particularly concerned that the firefighters have to change into their gear outside in the rain and had to create a makeshift platform so they are standing in puddles.

“There is no place for them to decontaminate,” the retired deputy fire chief said.

Pix 11 tried to talk to the mayor. He refused to comment and referred PIX11 to the city manager Nick Villano, who said even though it is tight quarters, the firefighters will only be living there for five days.

But the firefighters’ union was not happy with that response.

A statement from John A. Beard, President of FMBA local 21:

“The trailer would be perfect if we were sending firefighters on a camping trip. It is far from appropriate to keep them prepared to answer the emergency calls of our residents.
“It is, unfortunately, indicative of the lack of foresight that exists in Clifton City Hall, and reveals again the contempt some local decision makers have for first responders.”

The former city Councilmember Sadrakula added, “I blame the city. It is poor planning.”