Candidate for St. Louis mayor: ‘ … the firemen in the county don’t really fight fires. They get a call and watch the building burn..’

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Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am always thankful and appreciative of the support you have shown through the years. The firefighters who read this site are the best and bravest firefighters in the world. Those who don’t are a bunch of cowards who would be scared to death to set foot in a burning building.

Pretty harsh, huh? Pandering to my audience, aren’t I?

Of course, I didn’t mean any of that other than sending along my best wishes and sincerely thanking you for your support. I would really have no way of knowing if those who read are the best and the bravest (though I do suspect they are the smartest).

It’s just my way of showing how inane the comments are that St. Louis aldermanic President Lewis Reed made in his efforts to seal the support of IAFF Local 73 firefighters in his run for mayor. Reed said the following at a neighborhood meeting Monday that was also attended by the local’s incoming president:

“And the firemen, the firemen in the county don’t really fight fires. They get a call and watch the building burn. Now they make sure nothing else catches fire, but they don’t go in the building.”

I have no clue about how good city firefighters are versus county firefighters in the St. Louis area. But I do know it’s one thing to highly praise a group of people as you lobby for their support and a very different thing to trash another group of people in making your point.

Reed probably didn’t need to go this far, considering the incumbent mayor he is running against, Francis G. Slay, has been at odds with the firefighters over pension issues and news reports indicate Local 73 has invested in Reed’s campaign.

Already this candidate for mayor is backpedaling just a bit. Here’s an excerpt from Joe Holleman’s “Joe’s St. Louis” column at

Reached later Wednesday, Reed said he was not criticizing county firefighters’ dedication or professionalism, but merely pointing out the different strategies adopted by the respective departments.

“The city has adopted a more aggressive approach to fighting fires, and we tend to have the (manpower) to do that,” Reed said. “I didn’t mean that county firefighters do not fight fires.”

“That statement was taken totally out of context and is being used by the Slay camp to drive a wedge between the members of public safety (departments) and myself.”

So, if Reed becomes mayor, how will this comment play in any city/county relations?