Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to close as many as 20 firehouses – including one in Long Island City—has drawn the scorn of many of this district’s politicians.
Ladder Company 128, which serves Sunnyside, Woodside, LIC, Blissville and Greenpoint, is among those firehouses that face the chopping block.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris said that “the closure of ladder company 128 would result in longer response times and would have a detrimental effect on the safety of people in western queens.” Gianaris added that the closure made little sense at a time when the area is expanding and developers are building more high-rise buildings.
If the cuts went into effect, the first truck would arrive on scene in 6 minutes and 44 seconds after it were dispatched, according to a FDNY report. This would be up from the current response time of 5 minutes and 31 seconds.
The mayor argues that firefighting has changed over the last century, and cited declining fire deaths despite the closure of more than 20 firehouses in Lower Manhattan since the 1940s. Homes today are not made of wood, have sprinklers and smoke detectors, he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he wants the mayor to “restore all firehouses slated for closure. We must continue to do everything possible to ensure these firehouses remain.”