Rats! Queens Firehouse Forced to Close Engine, Ladder Companies, Trucks, Temporarily Relocated

WNBC 4 - August 06, 2003

NEW YORK -- A firehouse in Queens that's infested with rats has been forced to shut its doors.

The firehouse, which will be closed only temporarily, is on Hillside Avenue in Queens. The firehouse belongs to Engine 298 and Ladder Co. 127.

Fire department officials concluded it was simply uninhabitable. The firefighters say they have been living with the rats and their droppings in their kitchen, garage, lockers and inside their sleeping quarters for almost a year. Firefighters told NewsChannel 4 that they killed 16 rats on the night tour last Friday.

The fire department said they've had exterminators visiting the house for several months working to control the problem, but they say it wasn't until recently that it worsened to the point of infestation.

The engine and ladder companies and their trucks will be relocated temporarily to other neighborhood firehouses. Fire officials told NewsChannel 4 that it's true that whenever companies are relocated, it does have an effect on response time. But they said that for the protection of the firefighters, they will be moved while a rehabilitation of the building is performed.