For Immediate Release: May 9, 2011
Firefighters Stand with North Bronx
Residents to Protect Firehouse
Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) and Uniformed Fire Officers Association leaders and dozens of New York City Firefighters were joined by community members and elected officials including City Council Members James Vacca and Elizabeth Crowley outside of the quarters of Engine 70 and Ladder 53 on City Island to speak out against Mayor Bloomberg's plan to close 20 fire companies.
Ladder 53 has been one of the firehouses threatened in the past by Mayor Bloomberg with closure. Beginning in January 2009 the Mayor began closing Ladder 53 and three other fire companies at night. That test by City Hall was met with disastrous results, as homes and businesses were destroyed while fires burned longer and the wait for emergency medical service grew. "The UFA pledges to join city council members and community boards across every New York City neighborhood being threatened by Mayor Bloomberg with fire company closures," said Steve Cassidy UFA President. "As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks and as New York and our nation are on heightened alert for terrorist retaliation attacks, to close firehouses would be dangerous and self destructive."
Council Member James Vacca said, "Again and again over the past two years, the people of City Island have argued loud and clear that closing Ladder 53 would put their lives in danger. Through rallies, petition drives, even a candlelight march, we spoke with one voice to let City Hall know we won't settle for a response time that is double the citywide average. No matter how bad the budget is, every New Yorker is entitled to basic emergency services, and we will fight all over again to keep ours on City Island."
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley (D-30, Queens), Chair of the Fire & Criminal Justice Committee stated: "Ten years after the attacks on September 11th, New York City remains the number one terrorist target in the world--yet the Mayor wants to reduce our first line of defense by closing 20 fire companies. To close fire companies, at a time when our FDNY is responding to more emergencies than ever before, is dangerous, irresponsible and possibly deadly. Once again we must come together as a community and tell the Mayor to keep all of our fire companies open."
Eddie Brown the UFA Bronx Trustee said, "New Yorkers understand the city is facing difficult budget choices but closing fire companies makes New York a less safe place to live and work. Closing firehouses will increase the loss of life and leave scarred and burned out neighborhoods across our borough. We can't afford to return to the days when the Bronx was literally burning down before us."