Human Ecology

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 433–464

Fire service productivity and the New York City fire crisis: 1968–1979

  • Rodrick Wallace

DOI: 10.1007/BF01418731

Cite this article as:
Wallace, R. Hum Ecol (1981) 9: 433. doi:10.1007/BF01418731


Empirical measures of fire-service quality and efficiency are examined for New York City in the period 1968–1979. Marked decreases in the ability to control and contain structural fires are found to result from a program of fire-service reductions begun in 1972. Exacerbated by the New York City “fiscal crisis” of 1975, decreases in fire-service efficiency since 1972 appear to have initiated a geographically spreading and apparently recurrent fire epidemic. The decreases have accelerated since 1976, implying that recurring epidemic episodes could be more severe than the 1974–1977 crisis, which destroyed large areas in some neighborhoods of the city, including the South Bronx, Bushwick, Brownsville, East New York, East Harlem, and others. The results of an extensive data analysis are contrasted with the methods and conclusions of a widely circulated study entitled Setting Municipal Priorities 1981.

Key words

fire epidemic South Bronx fire-service efficiency 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rodrick Wallace
    • 1
  1. 1.Public Interest Scientific Consulting Service, Inc.New York

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