Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh did not show up for Tuesday’s parking garage collapse due to medical reasons, officials told the Post.
When asked to explain her absence from the Financial District disaster, FDNY spokeswoman Amanda Farinacci said, “The commissioner had a previously scheduled medical procedure this week.”
Farinacci said Kavanagh returned to work on Friday and has “events this weekend” but declined to elaborate.
Chief of Operations John Esposito led the FDNY’s response to the crumpled four-story Ann Street parking garage that killed manager Willis Moore and injured five workers. Department head John Hodgens is on sick leave.
The embattled commissioner’s absence followed news that a 10th top chief, Thomas Currao, had sought a demotion from three other chiefs, who are now suing the FDNY, in the turmoil following Kavanagh’s demotion.
Last Saturday night, she was loudly booed at the FDNY-NYPD hockey game at the UBS Arena in Long Island.
On Thursday, Kavanagh’s First Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer held the weekly meeting with bosses and regretted his comments to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, sources said.
When asked by Dowd if the outrage over Kavanagh’s actions was “a case of misogyny,” Pfeifer replied under the comments, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire career.”
Pfeifer insisted his comments were “taken out of context,” according to people who were aware of the meeting.
He said he wasn’t criticizing individual officers, but the FDNY as an institution.
“The whole department is sexist and needs to be reformed,” Pfeifer was quoted as saying.
Pfeifer also apologized for saying the bosses seeking the demotion could easily be replaced.
He suggested withdrawing their motions as a “good first step” to heal divisions with Kavanagh, the sources said. But nobody agreed.