Press Releases

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2010

Bronx Firefighters, Political & Community Leaders Rally To Save Firehouses

Video of the March 30th, 2010 Press Conference

UFA leaders and dozens of New York City Firefighters were joined outside of the quarters of Engine 70 and Ladder 53 on City Island by Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Bronx/Queens), City Councilmembers James Vacca (D-Bronx) and Criminal Justice Committee Chair Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens) to speak out against budget cut proposals made by Mayor Bloomberg, including closing at least 20 and as many as 60 fire companies.

Ladder 53 was one of the original fire companies threatened with closure by City Hall in 2009. Beginning in January 2009 the Mayor began closing Ladder 53 and three other companies across the city at night. The test was met with disastrous results, as homes and businesses were destroyed while fires burned longer and the wait for emergency medical service grew.

"Our message to City Hall is that closing firehouses will not be tolerated by the taxpayers. Its pretty simple math: if you close firehouses it will take significantly longer to get New Yorkers help in a fire or medical emergency," said Steve Cassidy, UFA president. "This is a call to arms for local elected officials, community boards and all New Yorkers. If you don 't stand up now to fight this wrong, the toll inflicted upon communities will be massive."

The Mayor has threatened to close at least 20 fire companies and as many as 60 fire companies effective the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2010.

"While all New Yorkers recognize the city is facing difficult budget choices, cutting emergency first responders and closing fire companies will make New York a less safe place to live and work," said Eddie Brown, UFA Bronx Trustee. "Closing firehouses or reducing manpower levels will increase the loss of innocent lives and leave scarred and burned out communities behind. Our city can not afford to return to the days when the Bronx was literally burning down before us."

According to the FDNY 's own manpower studies, a 20 percent reduction in Engine Company staffing doubles the time it takes to begin getting water on a fire.