Syndie Molina was a star member of the city’s elite rescue-paramedic squad. The FDNY asked her to appear on “Good Day New York” with Regis Philbinand to do a Q&A with The New York Times.
“I was the face of the department. I loved the department,” she says.
But after 10 years with the FDNY, she has flamed out.
Molina, 38, says she has been unable to work since injuring her head in an ambulance crash in August, and still suffers from dizziness, imbalance and chronic pain.
Last October, the divorced mom’s side business, a fitness studio, was evicted from a West Hempstead, LI, gym over a rent dispute. In November, she was charged with criminal trespassing and mischief for allegedly entering with three men who smashed the stairs with a sledgehammer.
Molina, who denies the charges, didn’t report them to the FDNY, as agency rules require.
She also failed to show up for a desk job and a medical appointment, claiming she was unable to get there.
Her final meltdown came on May 19, when the FDNY ended her line-of-duty leave and cut off her salary and benefits.
She put her paramedic shirt on the ground in her back yard and lit it on fire. She then posted photos of the burning uniform on a Facebook page for EMS members.
“Loved my bonfire. Thanks FDNY,” she wrote.
The images angered fellow medics. “Many people died wearing that shirt on 9/11,” one said.
Molina was unrepentant.
“That was me severing ties,” she said. “I’m done with all the bull crap. When you don’t care about your members, they don’t care about you.”
She added, “It was very therapeutic.”
On Friday, Molina got a letter from the FDNY informing her of a 30-day suspension. Sources said Molina is accused of “bringing disrepute to the department.”
Molina made nearly $88,000 with overtime in 2014. On the side, she was a Zumba, yoga, Pilates and Latin-dance instructor. She says her injuries ended her ability to exercise, but she continued to run the fitness business.
The crash occurred Aug. 20, when her ambulance hydroplaned in the rain on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and hit a divider. She was in the passenger seat.
She said her head was thrust forward and slammed back, causing an “intercranial” injury.
Broke and “broken,” Molina said, she’s appealing the FDNY’s cutoff of her disability benefits and seeking physical therapy through worker compensation.