Some City Leaders Question Firehouse Closures

NY 1 - March 06, 2004

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City leaders investigating the closure of six fire companies say the houses should never have been closed in the first place.

At a hearing aimed at assessing the effect of the closures on the neighborhoods they served, City Council speakers and resident activists charged that response times in those areas have increased, and they continue to urge the city to reopen the houses.

“The question really on the table is: why are we closing these firehouses if we're not really making the city any safer, we're not really saving the city any money and we're putting lives at risk?” asked Councilman Eric Gioia.

The department released statistics Thursday showing that even though response times did go up overall, they are in line with city averages, with the exception of two neighborhoods where response times jumped an average of 42 seconds.

Some want to subpoena the fire commissioner, who failed to appear at the hearing.

The Fire Department says Nicolas Scoppetta could not make it to the hearing, however he plans to attend a council hearing Friday.