The City of Wilmington has enacted a deliberate policy to understaff fire stations, implementing a rolling closure of stations throughout the city for the past 16 years. That policy that has led to the deaths of firefighters and civilians.
That is according to Republican candidate for Attorney General Tom Neuberger, which he says left blood on the hands of former mayors Dennis Williams and James Baker as well as retired fire chief Anthony Goode.
“Numerous civilian deaths and now 3 firefighter deaths were caused by a 16 year long ‘rolling bypass’ policy where the city deliberately undderstaffs the fire department and regularly closes one entire fire station on a rotating basis, leaving vast areas of the city unprotected,” says Neuberger.
He says because of this response times are increased by 3 or 4 minutes, enough time for a small blaze to turn into a deadly inferno. Neuberger says the fire station closest to the Canby Park fire in September 2016 was closed on that fateful night.
“Just as in the [Vaughn Correctional prison riot] where deliberate prison understaffing for 16 years was illegal, this policy shocks the judicial conscience and is also illegal,” says Neuberger.
Neuberger will represent the surviving firefighter, Brad Speakman, in a federal lawsuit against town officials. However, he says he cannot pursue justice and campaign for attorney general at the same time, so will drop out of the race.
Neuberger says that should leave Republican party enough time to find a suitable replacement.