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FDNY Looks To Attract Minorities As Exam Deadline Looms

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - With the FDNY under attack for not having enough minorities in the department, fire commissioner Sal Cassano took his campaign to 125th Street in Manhattan two days ahead of the recruitment deadline.

WCBS 880's Marla Diamond In Harlem


He says 48 percent of the applicants are minorities.

"The numbers are good, but we want to make them better and that's why we're here because we're trying to get as many people in these last couple of days to get out there [and] sign up. It's the greatest job in the world," said Cassano.

The deadline to apply for the January exam is Thursday at midnight.

1010 WINS' Stan Brooks reports: FDNY Looks To Attract Minorities


The department is under fire for its recruiting practices and racism complaints.

A lawsuit was even filed by the Vulcan Society.

"You're always going to find that, no matter if you're in corporate job or here, within the fire department. There's always going to be that," Recruiter Khalid Bailer, who has been a firefighter for eight year, told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

Though the department is 91 percent white, Bailer says the FDNY is committed to diversification.

FDNY Minority Recruitment Harlem
The FDNY holds a minority recruitment drive in Harlem - New York, NY - Sep 13, 2011 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Firefighter Regina Wilson was also on hand to try to get some women to sign up.

"I'll stand right next to other guys and they still won't believe that I do the job, but I'm hoping that this recruitment drive will help to change the dynamics," she said.

A soldier with the United States Army stopped by the recruitment table and said he would "use the fire department as an elevation to see what I can provide."

Another potential recruit, 19-year-old Eric Jameson, said,"I like helping people and it would give me a chance to do something I didn't, it's a challenge for me."

Do you think there needs to be more diversity in the FDNY? Sound off below!

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