City Island Ladder Co. Credited For Timely Rescue

CBS 2 - October 06, 2009

by Magee Hickey

Residents Who Fought To Keep Ladder 53 On Island Believe Their Efforts Have Proved Fruitful

NEW YORK (CBS) - Ladder 53 was the first one to the scene of an early Monday morning fire on City Island, and the ladder company is the one New York City wanted to take from the small Bronx island. Fire officials say having it to fight the blaze that erupted at 415 City Island Avenue made all the difference.

When firefighters first arrived at the fast-moving fire, four people were trapped in their second floor apartment above a first floor restaurant where fire officials believe the blaze started. Ladder 53, the only ladder company on the island, made the rescue.

"It made a difference in that we had the personnel available to ladder the rear of the building which affected rescue of civilians who lived in the building on the second floor," FDNY Chief Thomas Dunne told CBS 2 HD on Monday morning.

City Island residents fought hard to keep the ladder company on the island with round-the-clock service. Some of them say Monday's fire rescue of the four trapped residents shows their efforts were worth it.

"This is the second major fire we have had here. Each time they have needed the ladder, we had to fight tooth and nail. The mayor and the FDNY wanted to take away this ladder," said Karen Nani, Editor of "Island Current."

"This is a woodframe structure. The fire took off. The 6 or 7 minute difference that it takes an off island ladder to come to City Island would have been the difference of life and death. no doubt about it," said City Councilman James Vacca.

Eleven people are now homeless because of the fire, but they are grateful there were no serious injuries and they credit Ladder 53 for that.