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Large number of D.C. firefighters call out sick

- Associated Press - Friday, January 4, 2013

A large number of D.C. firefighters called out sick on New Year's Eve, leaving the city short-staffed on a busy night.

The city's deputy mayor overseeing public safety, Paul Quander, confirmed that some vehicles sat idle because of low staffing. Mr. Quander said the unusually high number of firefighters calling in sick is being investigated.

Mr. Quander said that the city is typically staffed with about 340 firefighters and that 20 to 30 generally call in sick each day. He said 97 firefighters were sick Monday. On Tuesday, a day where firefighters get holiday pay, 20 were sick. Firefighters also staff ambulances in the city.

The president of the union that represents firefighters, Ed Smith, said fewer than 90 firefighters out of 440 scheduled to work that day were absent.

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