Associated Press - December 05, 2008Four New York City firefighting companies will be closed overnight because of the city's financial crisis, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said yesterday.
"It's no secret we're facing very hard economic times," Scoppetta said at a news conference. The FDNY is trying to trim $60 million from its budget as the city faces a multibillion-dollar shortfall in the coming years.
As part of the measure, the nation's largest fire department will close four companies overnight that cover areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island.
Fire officials said affected communities should not fear they will be in danger and invited questions from residents in affected areas. Officials said trucks from other companies could still get to emergencies in time because overnight traffic is light.
Uniformed Firefighters Association president Steve Cassidy said closing companies compromises public safety and noted that more fatalities happen at night than at any other time.
Under the new policy, which goes into effect Jan. 17, the companies affected will be closed at 6 p.m. and reopen the next morning at 9 a.m.