So·ci·o·path [soh-see-uh-path] n. a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
For the last several years, the Fire Starter has attempted to bring to the attention of the public issues that have been under reported or unreported by the local media. Incidents of misconduct by local elected leaders and their allies have repeatedly detailed on these pages. Rarely has the local media picked up on these stories. Rather, they have been willing accomplices to egregious abuses of power. Their silence has allowed petty tyrants to utilize the apparatus of government to target individuals with the well founded belief that their deep pockets and a complicit (and at times corrupt) media would shield them from notice.
Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about the latest incident in the Village of Johnson City. No pithy quotes or one liners will take the edge of the situation. There is nothing to laugh about.
We have illustrated the recklessness and self promoting behavior of Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich. He has repeatedly shown himself willing to place the public and the fire fighters who serve with him in grave danger in order to advance his own interests.
We reported that Hrustich had set a policy in Endicott that if his severe cuts to the fire department resulted in five or fewer fire fighters being on duty, they would not answer Medical calls classified as “Delta” calls which are classified as serious situations requiring advanced life support. Rather, the call would need to worsen to become an “Echo” call before fire fighters respond to the call. An Echo call is a maximum priority call where cardiac arrest has occurred and death is imminent. His cuts led to the death of an Endicott resident.
No action was ever taken to hold Hrustich accountable. The tragic death of a resident was swept under the carpet and forgotten. It was excused. It was discounted as a fluke situation.
Unfortunately, it was no fluke. Tuesday night, while most of us were home with our families, a Johnson City resident collapsed. At 9:20 PM, Broome County 911 dispatched a call of a man with breathing difficulty and loss of consciousness on Arthur Avenue in Johnson City. This was classified as a Delta priority call. Since there were only four Johnson City fire fighters on duty, Broome County dispatch knew that under Hrustich’s policy, Johnson City would not respond.
Broome dispatch sent the call to the Union Volunteer Emergency Squad (UVES). Unfortunately, they were busy answering multiple calls and were unable to arrive on the scene until 9:28 or eight minutes after the initial dispatch. The call was immediately upgraded to an Echo call as the man was in full cardiac arrest. Valiant efforts at CPR were undertaken by UVES but the resident passed away.
While all of this was going on, four Johnson City fire fighters sat a couple of blocks away, helpless. Hrustich’s order prevented them from responding to the initial call. They easily could have been on the scene in two minutes. Instead, this father, husband or brother was left on the ground a total of eight minutes before assistance was available.
Six additional minutes may seem like a minor inconvenience to some. But if you are lying on the ground and unable to get oxygen to your brain, it is life and death.
Hold your breath for two minutes. It will seem like an eternity. Now try to hold your breath for eight minutes.
Hrustich’s “risk management” has now led to two deaths in less than a year. If he had a soul, it would keep him up nights. However, he sold his soul long ago and we are sure that these deaths are “risks” he is willing to take.
We know that Endicott Mayor Bertoni is unwilling to hold Hrustich to account for any misconduct. But what about Johnson City? What action will Mayor Deemie take? How about Balles, Slota, King and newly appointed trustee Marusich? After the reckless reckless cuts, wild driving, perjury and now two deaths, will they finally terminate this worthless piece of trash?
Don’t hold your breath.
***Note: We were contacted by a neighbor who witnessed the events and advised that the event occurred on Arthur Avenue. We have corrected the blog post. It is also worth noting that this neighbor verified the events of Tuesday night.