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For Immediate Release: April 27, 2010

Washington Heights Community Turns Out to Save Community Fire & EMS Protection

Washington Heights Rally - Photos

Community, civic and elected leaders joined with New York City Firefighters and leaders of the Uniformed Firefighters Association to fight Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to close fire companies and reduce firehouse staffing throughout the city. The community rally took place outside of Engine 93/ Ladder 45 on West 181 Street in Washington Heights.

Led by UFA President Steve Cassidy, City Council Criminal Justice Committee Chair Elizabeth Crowley and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, the gathering spoke out about how vital this firehouse is to the residents and property owners of Washington Heights and the surrounding communities.

"Fire Engine 93 and Ladder 45 are among the busiest fire houses in the City. Eliminating any fire company would significantly increase response times and place an additional burden on our already over-stretched Engine 93/Ladder 45 and all companies throughout the City. To close companies at a time when our Fire Department is responding to more fire and medical emergencies than ever before is one, irresponsible and two, simply does not make sense," said City Council Fire & Criminal Justice Chair Elizabeth Crowley.

Steve Cassidy, President of the UFA said, "In the last two decades Washington Heights has experienced an incredible renaissance and population growth, accomplished by community and elected leaders, business owners and residents working towards a common goal. Now the Mayor, who swore before the Election (on October 26, 2009 to WCBS-TV) that he had no intention to close firehouses, is looking take away fire and emergency medical protection from this and other communities across the city"

The October 2009 WCBS video can be viewed at: www.UFANYC.org; The mayor has now threatened to close at least 20 fire companies and as many as 60 fire companies on July 1, 2010, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

"How can the city in good conscience close firehouses knowing that the last five years have been the busiest in the 145 year history of the FDNY" Cassidy asked. "A government's number one priority is to provide for the safety and protection of its citizens, but proposed staffing cuts and closures will result in the deaths of civilians and firefighters alike."

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez said, "From the closing of the Post Office on W. 180th Street to the potential closing of this firehouse, residents of Washington Heights are NOT getting the services that they deserve. This firehouse already responds to twice as many emergency calls than the average firehouse - we cannot afford to lose it, or any other fire house in the city!"