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Is she unfirable? New York Post focuses on FDNY firefighter who hasn’t passed running test. This article is not satire.

NY FDNY Post on unfirable firefighter

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You may recall a few weeks ago the outrage that came from an article on the Internet that claimed the judge involved in the FDNY discrimination case told instructors to go easy on recruits at the training academy because there had been a much higher than normal dropout rate in the first court mandated class that addressed the diversity issue. The dropout rate was higher, according to a New York Post article from October 13. But the idea that the judge ordered the FDNY instructors to back off was not true. It was satire created by the website Call The Cops.

Now comes an article today in the New York Post that claims FDNY has gone easy on at least one recruit from a previous class. It’s a woman the Post is calling the “Teflon probie”. Her name is Wendy Tapia. According to reporter Susan Edelman at the Post, Tapia was one of five women among 285 firefighters who graduated on May 17, but has yet to work a shift in the Queens firehouse where she is assigned.  Tapia, claiming a foot injury and then a respiratory ailment, was not able to complete a required running test and is scheduled to take that test again in December for an unprecedented sixth time.

Here are some excerpts from Edelman’s article:

At the end of 18 weeks of probationary training, Tapia failed to run 1¹/₂ miles in 12 minutes without gear, as required by the academy. She blamed a foot injury.

The FDNY let her graduate anyway — and gave her five more deadlines over the past six months to pass the running test.

She failed all five times, insiders said.

Normally, probationary firefighters who fail the running test at the end of academy training don’t graduate — period. They flunk out but can join the next academy class, start over and get another chance to pass the course.

Tapia’s treatment has inflamed male and female colleagues alike.

Tapia was “unavailable for an interview,” the FDNY said.

A spokesman said Tapia “successfully completed every requirement to graduate from the academy except the run — which she was unable to do after sustaining a work-related injury. We have provided her time to recover from her injury and will test her again on Dec. 2.”

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    This happens everywhere, not just in the FDNY. Not that it makes it right.

    • Shame in Rochester

      Rochester NY is training their 2nd class of recruits from a candidate list that DID NOT have ANY physical component to the test. Part one) 30% of the “civil service” test was multiple choice ( written to a 5th grade reading level )…Part two) was an oral interview ( held behind closed doors ) that accounted for the remaining 70%. Imagine how many 100’s and 95’s there was !!!! It cost the City $250,000 dollars to hire an outside company to “come up” with a “test” designed to increase diversity.

      So what did the citizens of Rochester get with their money ??? A bunch of semi-“smart” out-of-shape candidates to choose from. And it’s a small act of God to get rid of any of them from the academy. I’m glad that I can retire. I feel sorry for those who can’t AND the citizens. Melanin and ovaries NEVER put out a fire. Firefighters did.

  • Scott

    This is a microcosm of what wrong with this country, not just the fire dept. The PC world says you can’t tell ANYONE “no” for seemingly ANY REASON. Even if the reason is not only valid but vital to safety. (Hers & her Co.) Hey, if you pass, welcome aboard. If not, look for a less demanding & less room for error job. Sorry, I’m not PC.

    • RJ in florida

      I gotta go along with some of what scotty says. At our fire academy we had a student that went all the way through then failed the final and was told he could retake the final at the state fire academy. HIS FATHER tried to sue stating that “all we do is squirt water, what’s the big deal?”. He was told that if he sued he should consider that every firefighter in florida has one thing in common…EVERY ONE has passed the standard and since your kid didn’t, he aint gonna be a firefighter BUT he gets ONE second chance.

      You have it right scott, is does seem that saying “NO” is a “nono” and on that I agree with you. Some people trivialize the academy experience and the job and say “its too strict because all they do is squirt water”. I recall the time when women wanted to be equal so the standards have been adjusted and reduced enough so on that point I say either she steps up or steps out. If you want something bad enough, you do what ya gotta do…On a lighter note I understand she is supposed to be going to E313 and L164. We used to run with them in my time with my vollie dept on long island. If she makes it then washes out in Douglaston…she should not be on the job

  • Jerry

    What does fighting fires have to do with being an Olympic caliber sprinter? Almost no one could run a mile in under 12 minutes but to the best of my knowledge fire fighters still drive a truck to burning buildings.

    • Just sayin’

      Anyone can run an 8 minute mile (1.5 mile in 12 min) it’s far from Olympic level running. Especially at the end of the academy when you’re more fit. If it means having a job I’ll run myself blind, to make it. I would expect my fellow cadet to do the same!

    • Tom

      12 minutes for a mile and a half is hardly Olympic caliber. It has more to do with conditioning as well as being able to pass standards that have been set in place for minimum requirements of entry level firefighters.

    • Steve

      Seriously??!! It’s not about winning a race, it’s about possessing the MINIMUM level of physical fitness to be a PROBATIONARY Firefighter. You have obviously never put 40 lbs of gear on, plus an air pack, then pull 200 ft of charged hose line into a building….ohhhhh then fight a fire. If you did, you wouldn’t make asinine comments like this. Don’t even get me started on granting special exemptions for substandard trainees to satisfy a federal quota hire….better hope SHE never shows up at your fire and has to get YOU or your family out…..

    • Jay

      In a profession in which heart disease is plaguing firefighters, asking recruits to run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes is hardly anything near being “an Olympic caliber sprinter.” Averaging an 8 minute mile pace for 1.5 miles is an easy jog… this is a physical job, and in a city with a large potential for high rise fires, cardiovascular health is a must.

    • Medic81

      Jerry how stupid can YOU be?! Braindead comment! Jackass!!

      • ukfbbuff


        You do know that on 9-11 FDNY Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca, Ran up over 50 flights of stairs in one of the Twin Towers?

    • John

      Jerry you have no idea what you are talking about. Don’t post your opinions until you do. Regardless of likely having no background understanding of FDNY, READ the article. All firefighters MUST complete in the allotted time, and DO, otherwise they wouldn’t have graduated – what are you talking about “almost no one could run a mile in under 12 minutes?”

      To MY knowledge (as a firefighter) if EVERY firefighter drove a “truck” to a burning building then no one would fight the fires. You have to meet the basic requirements to be on the same field as everyone else. If you can’t, then you don’t deserve to be with NY’s finest.

      And by the way, they do it, not so they can see how fast you can run. They do it to ascertain endurance and physical agility.

    • Matty

      What a completely stupid thing to say.

    • Mike

      I can walk a mile in 8minutes. I think she can run a mile 1/2 in 12. Hey 200+ people did it. and millions of firefighters did it. Part of the job being conditioned and ready to crawl and do rescues.

    • Sean

      Are you crazy? What do you mean no one can run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes? I’m 43 years old, 225 lbs, a career firefighter, and I can run 1.5 miles in under 11 minutes (10:45 average with my best being 9:58). I disagree with your assessment that no one can do a 12 minute mile and a half. A mile and a half in 12 minutes is nowhere near Olympic caliber. Idiot.

  • Anonymous

    Welcome to the new fire service. Quotas are more important than having someone who can do the job.

    • JJ

      Um no. Quotas make sure you are able to do the bare minimum to be able to effectively do your job (which is physically demanding).

  • Anonymous

    Well clearly the rest of the class could run a 1 1/2 miles in 12 minutes , she was the only one that ha a problem with if. We need to stop making excuses, this is the New York City fire department , if you can’t meet the requirements , there are 200 people in line begin you for your spot

    • JJ

      200? no more like 10,000

  • Fire21

    Is there medical evidence of her foot injury? How about her respiratory ailment? I would think without evidence, she would pretty much be unfireable, especially since they graduated her from the academy. There is a test scheduled for Dec.2. If she fails that, or fails to attend, then something needs to be done immediately to get her moving either up or out.

  • Anonymous

    Did she mention the foot injury before she failed, and if she did why they let her graduate instead of extending her time until she healed and could retake the test. Assigning her to a company without her actually completing the academy places the department in an indefensible position no matter what side of the argument they take.

  • AbsoluteReality

    Personally, I have to trust in the wisdom of the NYFD.

    They are, after all, almost the best Fire Department in the Big Apple.

    (We so often overlook that neighborhood Bucket Brigade in Staten Island.)

    • tim

      you can’t put your trust in the fdny any longer since there thought process was taken from them by that ignorant assed judge who obviously has no clue what he or she was talking about when the ruling came down for the fdny to be a kinder and more gentle academy. this its what is known as, (i’m gonna keep this pg-13 boys and girls) but this is called vaginification of the fire service!!!!! you can’t bust balls any more because you might hurt somebodies feelings, you can’t yell at them during live fire training for fear of making them cry!!! you know all the stuff that was done to the old dogs in this service. it’s about building a bond like you get in the military!!!!! our lives depend on each other!!!!! (((IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE DOG IN THE FIGHT, IT’S THE SIZE OF THE FIGHT IN THE DOG!!!!)))))

    • tim

      absolutely reality:
      you cant make that statement any longer. that power and thought process was taken from them when that dumbass judge ordered the FDNY AND NOT NYFD to have an easier academy.

  • Ol Skool 86

    Hey jerry, the run is to get heart rates elevated and used to very hard work when fighting fires. It’s plain conditioning. You need to learn how to dig deep when that time is needed, not whimper out and tell your partner ” I’m tired” ” can’t go on”. It’s bull crap, I’ve witnessed these weak words from FF myself that don’t have the drive to go the extra mile. It’s sickening when Others are going all out on an incident and a few are just chilling in the shadows…..

    I see plenty of people who milk the system in this way. Dc has plenty one of which has more than 5 yrs on and never passed probation due to the Ol foot injury…yup, I said 5 yrs, crazy….

    Firemen are a dying breed…period

  • Blue

    In the past three years witnessed “modified” physical agility test’s to adhere to quota hiring, glad I’m approaching the twilight of my career. Hopefully I wont have to rely on a quota hire to save me some day………

  • Anonymous

    “Dc has plenty one of which has more than 5 yrs on and never passed probation due to the Ol foot injury…yup, I said 5 yrs, crazy”….

    Wait a minute…….DC has RETIRED members for Hypertension and/or Diabetes and a PROBATIONER with a FOOT INJURY for the past FIVE years is still on the job????

    Gotta’ love that GOOD ‘OLE PFC!!!!!!

  • Tony Araujo

    From Fire Chief mag this week: “…after age 35, more than 50% of firefighters don’t meet the ideal fitness levels to perform firefighting tasks efficiently.” and from a UK report last year: “Half of firemen ‘too fat to do their jobs’ (and more than one in ten are considered obese)”.

    Neither of these articles was satire. Must be a lot of Teflon firefighters in the services these days. Where are the mandatory physicals for all instead of just the probies?

  • michael greer

    Obviously you are not a fire fighter or you would not have made such a stupid statement. It has yo do with endurance and the physical ability to do the job. Sure you drive a truck to the fire. Then you put on full turn outs, an scuba and have to drag incredibly heavy hoses filled with water, heavy extension ladders, deal with the most extreme conditions inside a burning structure then be able to carry or drag a person who just might be your partner out if they go down. Granted that isn’t an every day event but you have to be prepared for it at any time. I’m so tired of people who make comments on things they know nothing about.

    • Tony Araujo


      Don’t shoot the messenger. I know how to read and there’s piles of reports from lots of people who describe an epidemic of firefighter obesity. Like Caban’s 2005 study that lists the top 3 male occupations and the prevalance of obesity:

      1. motor vehicle operators (31.7%)
      2. private household occupations (31.3%)
      3. firefighters and police (29.8%)

      Inconvenient truth? Sure it is. So why should recruits have to pass a physical performance test that many if not most of their veteran colleagues can’t? Who’s fooling who?

      • pumpertrash

        So we should hire more out of shape people so we can up those obesity rates in the profession? I don't see anyone here condoning the way obesity has snuck its way into the fire service. If it came up for discussion I don't think anyone thinks the 5, 10, 20 year guy that is out of shape is an exceptable thing. The problem is finding a way to deal with it for a 20 year guy is a lot different than a recruit. So lets fix the problem we can now, and work on the guys in the system that are fatties. Besides, if I hire an out of shape person now, chances are real slim that they'll wake up in 10 years and decide to get in shape. If I hire an inshape person, the chances of the staying in shape are much better.

  • Patrick Conley

    If the run is a requirement for graduation. She has yet to conform to the rules, and has been given five chances, as we in Chicago would say, Who is here clout?

  • ukfbbuff

    This unacceptable!

    I have many Women FF friends a couple who have since retired from the FDNY and I’m sure even they would either have her “re-cycled” to the next class or sent home.

    Since I’m “pushing” age 60, just the age difference alone would mean she should be able to finish the run before me.

    This is just flat out coddling someone and it looks like the other Women Recruits are concerned about this because:

    A. It reflects on them, those who can do the run the required time limit.

    B. Makes these Women look bad.

    C. Gives an unfair advantage over those who were “Recycled” to the next class.

    D. On top of that, those “Legacy” Recruit Candidates who were not hired have to live with the frustration of this issue.

    E. Someone has a case of “H-U-A” and this recruit should be told to Meet the required Standard or get a different job.

  • http://msn retiredFFin SC

    Yes lets just keep pushing them through be it male or female. That is why the standards were set in place.I would not be very happy if I trained my butt off getting ready for the test only to find out that I did not have to.Think back to the Fire Fighter that was pushed through in Baltimore City Md.She is dead now and because of her death allot of good offices lost their jobs.

  • FireServiceJoke

    As I was watching football/hockey this weekend I asked myself “how long will it be before the PC liberals force unfit females to be placed on professional sports teams”? That’s right they wont because they do not control professional sports. How can the PC Libs continue to make these ridiculous decisions. There are plenty of females who can pass recruit class and would love to be selected to do so. Start firing anyone who cannot pass basic standards and start hiring capable candidates. This is not a case of female discrimination but a case of FDNY bowing down to the PC Libs that have attempted to force undue changes on the department, especially with their hiring quotas.

  • puzzled

    “Start firing anyone who cannot pass basic standards and start hiring capable candidates”.

    Are you just talking about new hires, or are you including anyone in the service now? If it’s the latter. then when we get rid of the more “rotund apparatus operators and Chiefs” (ie fat)there is going to be a lot of inexperienced people driving and running scenes.

    Now, if you are talking about candidates who did not or could not pass the academy, then you don’t get an argument from me.

  • Fire Dude

    By the looks of some firefighters I see these days especially in volunteer departments (mine included)they couldnt run 100 feet without dropping.

  • Anonymous

    So they have their woman’s UFW come out in support of this person. My issue is these chiefs and leaders are so safety conscience but they would allow someone who would compromise the safety of all on a fireground. Typical hypocrites. We have yet to hear the position of I-Woman on this issue. Do they support this or not. We have to diversify our profession in order to meet quotas, not give the job to the best possible candidate regardless of race, race or gender. Should colleges diversify their football teams in order to meet the makeup of the university. Take away scholarships and give it to those who can make it more diverse regardless of their ability to compete.

  • Steven Belsky




  • cbj

    Is there a Caucasian male group? my guess is that it would be deemed discriminatory.

  • JustSayin’


    Y’all are KILLING ME.!!!!

    Look at the UPROAR that’s produced by one little lady who
    has YET to complete her required fitness run.!!!

    Video after Video, month-in month-out, we see vollie and career FF’s
    improperly wearing or NOT WEARING their PPE’s and SCBA.!!!

    NOT TO MENTION the dozens (100’s, 1000’s) of NYFD videos
    with their personnel NOT wearing their Masks in thick, ugly smoke.

    She darn well better successfully complete this NYFD required run
    so she can have a GREAT CHANCE of having a shortened career/retirement
    with LUNG CANCER as she follows the tradition of the NYFD “Leather-Lungers”.

    TEARS are running down my face…
    This is BOTH that FUNNY and that SAD.!!!

  • Mina

    I am a female EMT, and i make it a point to pull my weight and meet all of the challenges asked of me. There are multiple females (fire and ems) who think its okay to not do as much work as everyone else because they are female. It pisses me off that my sex has a bad name due to a few dumbasses that think its okay to not meet what is required of them. I allow second chances, not third forth or fifth chances, that is ridiculous

    • JustSayin’

      Be Nice, Mina.

      Maybe the NYFD needs another Chief’s Driver.

      This could be THAT physical exam…

      I’m sure that NYFD has their adjusted standards and SOPs
      for the different featherbedding positions in addition
      to the position of FF.

      • Anonymous

        first of all its the fdny so lets compare apples to apples not oranges to apples

  • Bill

    If she has all these problems now wait till she gets in the firehouse… she will be off summers and most holidays with “an injury” we had a probie FF that came out of the fire academy and was scared to wear a mask. For almost a year the company had to carry an extra firefighter on his shift because he would not go into a fire. God help us all! and we had one probie mark off sick when they pulled up to their first working fire and was scared…. and did not get fired>

  • Volunteer for life

    Just sayin let me guess fdny passed you over? Boo hoo.Run your ems calls so you can keep your union job.

    • JustSain’


      You're like the little lady that caused this thread.

      FAIL on your 1st attempt (guess)

      Care to try again.???

      • professionalfirefighter

        don't indulge this dinger, he's just busy he wasn't good enough to be a pro.

        • professionalfirefighter


  • Upside Down

    These are minimum standards.  For those who barely pass, this will most likely be the best shape they will ever be in.  A person who cannot meet these minimum standards either can't meet them physically or doesn't have the heart to put in the necessary work.

    Not somebody who I want to have my back.

  • RET328

    These physical requirements are known before you start on day one of the academy. If you are worried about your abilities, you train and prepare before you start. You have more than enough time to whip yourself into shape before the final test. How bad do you want the job. If you can't type, would you be hired by a firm that required a certain number of words per minute?  The requirements for the FDNY are there for a reason. ( Even as low as they are) If you can't meet them, find a different job, PERIOD.