BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — Even while off duty, this firefighter chose to put his life on the line to save kids from potential death. But, his boss could care less.
Off-duty firefighter, 32-year-old Roben Duge has been deemed a hero by a local Queens family. According to New York Post, they barely escaped their burning home if it weren’t for Duge’s quick actions, as claims in a lawsuit.
In court documents, Duge reportedly defines his FDNY bosses as bigots. He claims, after the aforementioned incident, they demoted him to driving delivery vans instead of fighting fires.
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED
The New York Post states that, in March, Duge was walking home from the subway when he spotted flames from his next-door neighbor’s house. He immediately rushed over to help them.
The source says Duge — father of two — “ran into the house and…just pulled the kids and [the grandmother]…out.”
The grandmother, Linda Mitchell, explains that she’s grateful to “live to see another day.”
Yet, apparently FDNY officials say the residents were already in the process of “self-evacuating” and Duge simply met them at the door. As a result, he mentions that his bosses have reassigned him to administrative duties since he’s complained about how he’s been treated in the department.
“How’s he been treated?” you ask?…
Well, prior to the rescue controversy, Duge claims he was being disrespected due to his race and color — as mentions his claim in the lawsuit.
The source reports Duge has been a firefighter since 2013. As stated, he wanted to gain experience working at a busier firehouse. That’s when he transferred to Ladder 103 in East New York, Brooklyn.
However, once there, his boss kept him firmly under his thumb.
According to court documents, Captain Daniel Florenco told Duge: “You should go to the neighborhood you live in.”
Moreover, the captain allegedly called Duge’s previous officers to fuss and ask why they allowed his transfer. He also denied him — as well as another Black firefighter — a “front piece” to their helmets. That’s the metal plate which ID’s the firehouse.
So, if that’s the case, he apparently didn’t want anyone knowing Duge was part of his unit. Wow.
Duge says Florenco also lied about staffing protocols so he couldn’t take time off.
Long-story-short, it’s alleged that Florenco has tried everything in the book to force Duge to quit or request transfer from his particular firehouse, Ladder 103. The source reports as follows.
“When Duge refused, a senior firefighter, who is white, told him, ‘If this were back in the day, you would have been punched in the face for refusing to transfer out,’ according to the lawsuit.”
Florenco also reprimanded Duge for taking “an extremely desirable” detail with the Counter Terrorism Task Force, according to the claim.
In January 2017, Duge was assigned to a roof position during a fire but was “forced to carry out the job meant for two” when a fellow smoke-eater sent to join him never made it — and Florenco used the incident as an opportunity to portray Duge as a “safety hazard,” he charges.
He’s been driving the van for a year, his lawyer, Aymen Aboushi, said.