Firefighter regrets statement blaming Haverhill mayor
HAVERHILL, Mass. (WHDH) -- The deadly Haverhill fire that forced neighbors from their homes and killed 84-year-old Phyllis Lamot has created another firestorm; between the city and firefighters
"She’s never been forgotten by the city. And I’ve indicated in my statements repeatedly this shouldn't be about the rescue truck, it shouldn't be about politics, it shouldn’t be about assessing blame. It should be about the victim of all of this," said Mayor James Fiorentini.
Yet up until Thursday, Firefighters blamed the city, particularly the Mayor, for reducing the rescue truck's manpower from three men to one. They say it caused a delay, and ultimately, Lamot's death.
“I deeply regret the comments I made. The statements I made to the press this week was emotionally charged," said Todd Guertin, Haverhill firefighter. “It's a situation where there's a fatality you never want to go home the next day wondering, ‘Is there something I could have done differently?’"
As of Thursday, Haverhill firefighters will volunteer to staff Rescue One for the next two weeks, after that, firefighters who owe the city time will staff it through June 30.
Officials say they don’t want to re-victimize the victim, or her family.
“What became of that tragedy is that now we have a fully staffed rescue company in the city of Haverhill with its thousands of residents who are better protected tonight than they were last night. And I hope that somehow they can find comfort in that," said Ed Kelly, Mass. Firefighters Union.
The mayor said an in-depth investigation is set to begin soon. Firefighters also said they want to meet with the family of Mrs. Lamot.
(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)