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PR- 547-09
December 21, 2009


40-Year FDNY Veteran with a Vision for the Department's Future

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today appointed Salvatore J. Cassano as New York City's 32nd Fire Commissioner. Cassano, 64, currently serves as FDNY's Chief of the Department, the highest-ranking uniformed officer, a position he has held since 2006.  A 40-year FDNY veteran, Chief Cassano rose through the ranks of the department, starting as a firefighter working at several engine companies in Lower Manhattan.  Over the course of his career, Chief Cassano has been cited for bravery five times, each time for rescuing New Yorkers from burning buildings.   During the last eight years, initially as Chief of Operations, Chief Cassano played a crucial role in rebuilding the department after the tragic loss of 343 members on September 11th and he has worked to bring significant changes to the department, creating a better prepared, better trained and better equipped FDNY.  He plans on increasing the department's focus on fire prevention and emergency medical services, continuing to increase the diversity of the department's personnel and increasing firefighter safety, which is his top priority.  He will replace Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, who has served as Commissioner since 2002 and announced in October that he would resign at year's end. Chief Cassano will begin serving as Commissioner of the 16,000 person department on January 1, 2010.

"Sal brings a lifetime of unmatched experience to the task of managing the world's greatest fire department," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "His record as a leader in the department speaks for itself - there have never been fewer fire deaths during any other eight-year period in recorded City history.  We are choosing Sal not just on the basis of that very impressive record, but even more important, because of Sal's vision for the future of the FDNY.  He has shown a proclivity for innovation, implementing a sophisticated, data driven system for risk-based fire inspections that is currently in development and streamlining the department's call taking and dispatch system, which has helped cut response times to record lows.  The FDNY, like any agency, must evolve with changing times and Sal has shown he understands the need to constantly adapt and improve.

"I also want to take this opportunity to thank Nick Scoppetta for his eight years of service as Fire Commissioner, including exemplary leadership during the most difficult years in the department's storied 144-year history.  His 47 years of service to the people of New York City - as Fire Commissioner, as the founding Commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services and as the City's Commissioner of Investigation have been incomparable. Few people who have served our city so long, or so well."

"First, I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for the opportunity of a lifetime," said Chief Cassano.  "The last 40 years of my life have been dedicated to this department, and being given the opportunity to lead the men and women that put their lives on the line every day is an honor beyond comparison.  We will continue to build on what has made us successful, while always looking for new ways to improve.  I plan on working to utilize new technology in all areas of operations, increase our preparedness for emergencies, increase our growing focus on fire prevention, increase enforcement of the Building and Fire Codes and provide more training for firefighters to handle medical emergencies"

Chief Cassano has served the FDNY as a Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief, Deputy Assistant Chief and Assistant Chief.  Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Chief Cassano was named Chief of Operations, succeeding Chief Daniel Nigro who was appointed Chief of Department following the line-of-duty death of Chief Peter Ganci.  As Chief of Operations, Chief Cassano held the second-highest uniformed rank in the department. 

Chief Cassano is a U.S. Army veteran with combat experience in Vietnam.  He joined the FDNY immediately following the conclusion of his military service in 1969.  He attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Science.  Chief Cassano has lived in the Huguenot section of Staten Island for the last 40 years and resides there with his wife, Theresa.  They have 5 children and 3 grandchildren, including his daughter Katie LiVolsi, who is a former member of the FDNY and is married to FDNY Lieutenant Christopher LiVolsi.  Chief Cassano is a native New York City resident, born in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

The replacement search was led by Nathan Leventhal, Chairman of the Mayor's Committee on Appointments; Andrea Shapiro Davis, Special Advisor to the Mayor; and Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler.


Stu Loeser / Marc La Vorgna   (212) 788-2958

Francis X. Gribbon   (Fire)
(718) 999-2056

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