FDNY firefighters forced to remove flag honoring 9/11 heroes after NYC pol questioned if it's a 'political symbol'

NEWS: FDNY firefighters forced to remove flag honoring 9/11 heroes after NYC pol questioned if it’s a ‘political symbol’



Fire Department brass ordered an East Village ladder company to remove its “red line” American flag honoring the squad’s six brothers killed on 9/11 – after a neighborhood resident complained it was “fascist” and a local lefty pol questioned whether it was a “politically charged symbol.”

The shocking order came March 22 after a man claiming he was a staffer for Democratic Manhattan Councilwoman Carlina Rivera confronted firefighters at Ladder Co. 11, sources said.

The man pedaled up to the East 2nd Street firehouse on a bicycle and told firefighters he worked for Rivera and that the councilwoman’s office “complained” to the FDNY three days earlier about the flag – which features a red stripe in tribute of firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty.

Firefighters at Ladder Company 11 in Manhattan proudly display “red line” flag honoring deceased 9/11 heroes. X @DC_Draino

He called it a “fascist symbol” and demanded to know why it was still up, sources said.

In a March 19 email to FDNY Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator Madison Hernandez, Rivera staffer Lisander Rosario said the councilwoman’s office was contacted by the “constituent” twice about the ladder company’s flag and asked if it’s violating department rules.

“[FDNY staff] claimed it was to honor deceased firefighters, however, [the constituent] brought up that they could’ve used an FDNY flag rather than a politically charged symbol,” Rosario wrote.

“It is to both his and our understanding that private political symbols aren’t permitted to be displayed on public vehicles.”

“Can you confirm if there are any violating flags/symbols on Ladder 11?” added the email, which was obtained by The Post.

Manhattan Councilwoman Carlina Rivera insists her relationship members of Ladder Company 11 “has always been strong.” William Farrington

Hours after the “constituent” left the firehouse, FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Schiralli visited firefighters there and reluctantly said the flag must come off the fire truck because it violated a department prohibition of “altered” versions of the American flag.

The rule was implemented in 2020 by then-Commissioner Daniel Nigro and then-First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh during the height of the anti-cop Black Lives Matters protests, sources said.

Schiralli told the firefighters he agreed with them that it’s “ridiculous” to remove the flag, recalled one of the smoke-eaters.

“We’re happy with the outcome of this — but we’re offended it happened in the first place,” a Ladder 1Company 11 firefighter told The Post. William Farrington

The order sparked immediate outrage on social media, with conservative Instagram influencer Rogan O’Handley posting a photo of the flag and saying, “NY firefighters were forced to take down a memorial for those that died on 9/11. What’s happened to NYC?!”

Hours later, now-Commissioner Kavanagh and Chief of Department John Hodgens reversed the decision and allowed the flag back on the truck.

“We’re happy with the outcome of this — but we’re offended it happened in the first place,” said a Ladder 11 firefighter.

“This flag has huge significance for us.”

Ladder Company 11 displays its red line flag next to a memorial placard on the back of its fire truck honoring Lt. Michael Quilty and Firefighters Michael Cammarata, Edward Day, John Hefferman, Richard Kelly Jr. and Matthew Rogan – all of whom were killed responding to the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I wish [Rivera’s office] would have come at it like ‘Hey, we want to learn about the flag and what it represents’ before they asked for it to be taken down,’” said another Ladder 11 fireman.

Rivera insisted to The Post that her office never contacted Ladder Co. 11 about the issue, and that the initial complainant was a constituent, not a staffer.

Ladder Company 11 displays its red line flag next to a memorial placard on the back of its fire truck honoring six firefighters who died on 9/11. William Farrington

She said her office sent the March 19 email to the FDNY asking whether “political symbols are on display” at the ladder company only after the constituent questioned the flag’s legality in an email to her staff.

“We have heard nothing further from the FDNY and have taken no additional action on this matter,” said Rivera, who added she’s allocated $450,000 in Council discretionary funds to improve the ladder company’s firehouse.

“My relationship with Ladder 11 has always been strong.”

Rivera, a former dues-paying member of the Democratic Socialists of America, voted to defund the NYPD by $1 billion in 2020 and also routinely ripped cops that same year during the Black Lives Matters protests.

Email from Councilwoman Carlina Rivera’s office to the FDNY seems to confuse “blue line” flags honoring cops with the “red line” flags honoring FDNY heroes, such as the one at Ladder Company 11.

Some FDNY sources said they believe all the fuss about the flag stemmed over confusion between a red-line flag and a blue-line American flag, which is typically displayed to honor police officers injured or killed in the line of duty.

Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens), who chairs the fire and emergency management committee, called the flag-removal debacle a “sanctioned attack on the First Amendment rights of our civil servants.”

“Radicalism and censorship are sadly becoming the norm in American politics,” she said.





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