Friday, April 20, 2007

Fight Over Closed Fire Stations Rages

Yesterday, the Daily News ran an article about the continuing battle over the future use of two shuttered Brooklyn fire houses, and the fact that some non-profit groups were anxious cut a deal with the city for the properties. Activist Phil DePaolo, who was one of the leaders of the fight to keep Engine 212 in Williamsburg open, has more to say on the subject. In an email, Mr. DePaolo writes:
The saddest part of this whole Firehouse issue is that many Not for Profits who never made any effort to help the communities who were fighting the Engine closings are now climbing over each other to take the houses for their own use. Mayor Bloomberg has made it clear that reopening the Engine companies is not an option and is not to be raised as an issue.

Here in Williamsburg many have justified giving up the fight to restore our Engine by saying that the Engine Company is obsolete and a new firehouse could be built at a later date. Yet they don’t say where this could happen. Land in Northside Williamsburg is going for over a Million dollars for a 20x100 lot today. By 2010 land cost will be much higher and public land will all be absorbed by development. So how would land be acquired for a firehouse? Could some homes that are still remaining in the community be taken by eminent domain for a firehouse in the future? The claim that Engine 212 is obsolete is also debatable...

In Calendar Year 2002 the last full year before Mayor Bloomberg closed six Engine companies the F.D.N.Y averaged 4:13 sec to a Structural fire. They responded to 26,248 Structural Fires in 2002. In just released 2006 Calendar year response numbers the F.D.N.Y averaged 4:29 sec to a Structural Fire. They responded to 27,817 Structural Fires in 2006...

Now all the huge towers that are being built on the former first due are of Engine 212 on the Williamsburg Greenpoint waterfront will require greater response to a fire. A HIGH-RISE MULTIPLE DWELLING FIRE requires a Response of 5 engines, not two. So instead of beefing up resources on the Williamsburg Greenpoint waterfront Mayor Bloomberg closed E212 and also closed E209 in Nearby Bushwick. It is also not lost on the people of Greenpoint and Williamsburg that Mayor Bloomberg changed his mind on closing the engine company nearest his own address...

I remain steadfast in my belief that Engine 212 and Engine 204 should be returned to service returned to the communities as needed Firehouses.
The two Brooklyn fire houses in question are Engine 204's building on DeGraw Street in Cobble Hill and Engine 212's quarters on Wythe Ave. in Williamsburg.

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