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The FDNY may have skipped Queens when it came up with a list of units to shut down during the overnight shift, but leaders in Ridgewood are warning that closing a Bushwick, Brooklyn, firehouse will create problems for their section of the borough.
Engine 271, at 392 Himrod St., began shutting its doors overnight Saturday, as part of a last−ditch effort to make up for an $8.9 million city budget cut. It was one of four engine companies ordered to close from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. at fire stations that have two units operating simultaneously. The other units will continue to operate around the clock, FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said.
Engine 271 shares its firehouse with Ladder 124, which will continue to operate for 24 hours.
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D−Middle Village) said she would ask Scoppetta to reconsider closing the unit, located a few hundred feet from the Queens border.
“This impacts not only my neighborhood of Ridgewood, but my entire district,” she said. “It is an unacceptable proposal.”
Vincent Arcuri, chairman of Community Board 5, which covers Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood, said Engine 271 is the first responder for the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and is responsible for swaths of Queens where other stations are much farther away.
The decision to close the engine companies overnight was based on the number of responses to fires during the night shift, response times in the areas, the unit workload, proximity to other fire companies and the overall impact on the safety of individual communities, Scoppetta said.
“Our goal — first and foremost — is to minimize any impact these reductions could have on our ability to continue protecting and serving all New Yorkers,” Scoppetta said in a statement. “I believe we’ve accomplished that.”
Arcuri was skeptical of the process.
“If it’s based strictly on statistics, the statistics are all there, but the logistics are crazy,” he said.
Other units being shut down at night are Engine 4 in Manhattan, Engine 161 in Staten Island and Ladder 53 in the Bronx.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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