Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has criticized the New York City Fire Department for deciding to close Fire House Engine 81/Ladder 46 on two separate days. They were told to report to the United Nations, leaving this Fire House uncovered. Then Engine 81 was called to cover a fire house in Wakefield for most of the day this past Wednesday, leaving the Fire House without an engine again.
The response time to a fire in Kingsbridge during the coverage of the UN was over 6 minutes, well above the average of 4 ½ minutes, which Mayor Bloomberg finds unacceptable. Thankfully Engine 81/Ladder 46 was not covering another location yesterday, Thursday, when a serious chlorine leak occurred at Bailey’s Fitness Center in Kingsbridge. Engine 81/Ladder 46 is part of a special unit called DeCon Task Force, which has the ability to decontaminate toxic spills or bio-hazard chemicals. Having them on hand for the chlorine leak was thus crucial.
It was therefore distressing to learn that Engine 81 was pulled to cover Wakefield this past Wednesday, after the response time to the fire two weeks in Kingsbridge was over 6 minutes. Assemblyman Dinowitz stated, “Witnessing the elaborate clean-up process for the chlorine spill made clear that this policy of pulling resources from fire houses must be taken seriously. I am urging the NYC Fire Department to review and change the policy of leaving Fire Houses uncovered. Choosing not to replace engines and ladders in those fire houses where they are pulled from, leaves communities like Kingsbridge under-protected. The safety of communities should not be jeopardized because their fire house was closed to cover another location”