City Releases List of 20 Fire Companies Slated to Close

NY Times - May 19, 2011

by ANDY NEWMAN and JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ

The city on Wednesday afternoon released a list of the 20 fire companies it is considering closing to help fill a $600 million budget gap. The city had initially refused to release the list, prompting the City Council to threaten to subpoena it.

Eight of the fire companies are in Brooklyn, four in Queens, three each in Manhattan and the Bronx, and two in Staten Island. They make up about 6 percent of the 341 ladder and engine companies that reside in the city's 218 firehouses (some firehouses are home to both an engine and a ladder).

The closures, if all were implemented, would save $55 million, officials have said. The Bloomberg administration is readying a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

At a news conference in Brooklyn on Wednesday, Mr. Bloomberg said it was "much too early" to know which companies, if any, would close, and he said the list was a way of gauging which fire companies were used most often and their average response times.

The city released a report (see also below) showing projected changes in response times should the companies close, and providing justification for closing these particular companies.

In recent years, the Bloomberg administration has often threatened during budget season to close fire companies, occasionally following through. Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, the firefighters' union, said in a statement on Wednesday that the mayor had "willfully abdicated responsibility for protecting the safety of New Yorkers."

At his news conference earlier Wednesday, Mr. Bloomberg said he was just being realistic about the city's fiscal situation.

"It will be great to have a firehouse or company on every corner," he said, "but that's not the real world."

Here is the list:

BROOKLYN

  • Engine 205 at 74 Middagh Street
  • Engine 206 at 1201 Grand Street
  • Engine 218 at 650 Hart Street
  • Engine 220 at 530 11th Street
  • Engine 233 at 25 Rockaway Ave
  • Engine 284 at 1157 79th Street
  • Ladder 104 at 161 South 2nd Street
  • Ladder 161 at 2929 West 8th Street

THE BRONX

  • Engine 46 at 460 Cross Bronx Expressway
  • Engine 60 at 341 East 143rd Street
  • Ladder 53 at 169 Schofield Avenue

MANHATTAN

  • Engine 4 at 42 South Street
  • Engine 26 at 220 West 37th Street
  • Ladder 8 at 14 North Moore Street

QUEENS

  • Engine 294 at 101-20 Jamaica Avenue
  • Engine 306 at 40-18 214th Place
  • Engine 328 at 16-19 Central Avenue
  • Ladder 128 at 33-51 Greenpoint Avenue

STATEN ISLAND

  • Engine 157 at 1573 Castleton Avenue
  • Engine 161 at 278 McClean Avenue