FDNY Boasts More Minority Applicants

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The FDNY said nearly half of the applicants for its new exam are minorities as the department continues its efforts to recruit and attract a more diverse force.

As of Monday, Hispanics made up 23 percent of applicants, followed by blacks at 21 percent and women at 7 percent, according to the department.

The exam is the first in more than four years after the department altered its recruiting practices following a federal judge's 2009 ruling that tests given by the department between 1999 and 2009 discriminated against minority applicants. As part of the ruling, the FDNY entrance exam was also redesigned.

John Coombs, president of the Vulcan Society, a group of black firefighters who brought the suit, said he's happy more minorities are now applying, but that it's too early to tell how those numbers will translate to the FDNY's new class of hires.

"Until those numbers translate into people working as firefighters in the New York City Fire Department, we'll always scrutinize, and reserve scrutiny, until that becomes a reality," Coombs said.

The city has pushed back the deadline for would-be firefighters to apply to take the test, until midnight on Monday, September 19. The original deadline was midnight on Thursday, September 15.

The test will be administered in January.

Currently, 9 percent of the FDNY's workforce is identified as minorities, and just about 30 firefighters out of 10,000 are women.