WASHINGTON — The Fire Department in San Juan, Puerto Rico, had too few men and inadequate equipment to effectively fight the New Year's Eve blaze at the Dupont Plaza Hotel that killed 96 people, a firefighters union said Friday.
"There was a dramatic lack of equipment to bring to bear on the fire and an equally dramatic lack of prepared manpower on the scene," said John A. Gannon, president of the International Assn. of Fire Fighters.
The union, which does not represent members of the San Juan Fire Department, sent a team to the Caribbean island after the blaze to interview firefighters and study videotapes of the rescue effort.
Fewer than 60 on-duty firefighters were available when the fire broke out, less than half the recommended number, Gannon said.