In a letter to FDNY Commissioner Scoppetta, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz criticized the decision to pull Engine 81/Ladder 46 from local fire house located on Bailey Avenue on New Years Eve to cover Times Square, and be replaced by only an engine from Washington Heights. Assemblyman Dinowitz stated in the letter, While Times Square should have a DeCon Unit covering it, the practice of regularly pulling Engine 81/Ladder 46 because it is a DeCon Unit leaves the community under-protected.
Assemblyman Dinowitz continued, I wrote earlier this year about the absence of Engine 81/Ladder 46 on two different occasions because it was pulled to cover the United Nations for the UN General Assembly as part of the DeCon Task Force. There was a fire on one of those occasions that resulted in an inadequate response time. According to the NYC Fire Department Incident Report, Engine 52 arrived 6 minutes after the alarm went off; Engine 95 arrived seven minutes after the alarm; Ladder 36 arrived seven minutes after the alarm; and Engine 75 arrived twelve minutes after the alarm.
Replacing Engine 81/Ladder 46 with an engine outside of the community on New Years Eve is disconcerting. News Years Eve presents many safety concerns, particularly this New Years Eve, since the eighth day of Hanukkah, which entails the use of candles, lands on New Years Eve. No outside engine knows the community I represent as well as Engine 81/Ladder 46. Furthermore, replacing Engine 81/Ladder 46 with only an engine increases the chances of a catastrophe.
Assemblyman Dinowitz concluded by stating, Engine 81/Ladder 46 has a high incident rate and it would be irresponsible to rely solely on other Fire Houses. I am again requesting that you re-examine this policy of pulling all resources from a local fire house. One possible policy change to ensure adequate coverage would be to take an engine from one fire house and a ladder from another fire house.