Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway) sent a letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urging him to not to close Engine 328, but rather to keep it at its current Central Avenue location, where it belongs.
“Engine 328 has been on the mayors’ chopping block time and time again,” Goldfeder said. “Although I understand the need to trim the city budget, the mayor must not take chances with the safety and protection of the Rockaway community.”
For the last few years Engine 328, stationed in the “The Big House” in Far Rockaway has been slated for closure by the mayor only to be saved in a last minute budget deal and this year is no exception, only its fate is still unknown.
The Central Avenue fire house is unique in that it houses two engine companies and a ladder company. Typically, when a fire company is out on a call and another incident occurs within the vicinity of the station, the next nearest fire station provides auxiliary relief. In Rockaway, the next closet New York City station from the Central Avenue fire house is many miles away. In addition, we our bordered with Nassau County in the east, whose volunteer fire departments do not offer the same level of backup or assistance to our community. It must be a priority to maintain current resources to ensure the safety of Rockaway residents, Goldfeder noted in his letter.
“The mayor should not be balancing the budget on the backs of the men and women who risk their lives every day,” said Goldfeder. “Closing Engine 328 would put the lives of Rockaway residents in jeopardy; it will increase response times to an unacceptable rate, which could mean the difference between life and death.”