Press Releases

For Immediate Release: March 19, 2009

Brooklyn Residents Get Taste Of City's Night Firehouse Closings

Brooklyn, NY- Residents of three homes, including 213 Wyckoff Avenue in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn got a first hand view of the City's new policy of closing selected neighborhood firehouses at night. Engine Company 271 was closed for the rest of the day by Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta at 6 p.m.

In the early hours of the morning Wednesday (1:46 am on March 18) a 3-alarm fire destroyed three homes and several neighborhood stores. The properties sustained severe damage, displacing several families and shopkeepers. The buildings adjoin the Ridgewood Senior Citizen Center.

The Commissioner and Mayor have proposed shuttering Engine 271 and three other fire companies permanently in July, as well as identifying another 12 fire companies they intend to close, leaving those neighborhoods without nearby fire protection.

Normally Engine Company 271 based at 392 Himrod Street only 3-4 blocks away would have been the first unit on the scene. In the name of "cost savings" the city has begun closing firehouses at night. It has announced it intends to close an additional 12 fire companies (for a total of 16 fire company closures) in the coming months.

"Fires grow exponentially every minute, so in firefighting every second really does count," said John Kelly, Brooklyn Trustee of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "Nighttime closures are even more dangerous because they often go undetected for longer periods of time while the streets are empty and residents are sleeping. Commissioner Scoppetta's ill advised policy of closing neighborhood firehouses at night is playing Russian roulette with civilian and firefighter safety."

By default Engine Company 277 became the closest due responding engine company. The nighttime closing of the neighborhood's firehouse meant that additional manpower had to be brought in from further away, adding to what would have been just a 3-4 block distance by 271.