City Council members Elizabeth Crowley, Ydanis Rodriguez and Robert Jackson joined firefighters and residents of Washington, Heights Manhattan to demand that Mayor Michael Bloomberg keep fire companies open.
Twenty engine companies are slated for closure in the city's budget, and as many as 62 could be closed if proposed state funding cuts are fully implemented.
They gathered in front of Engine 93, which is not necessarily in danger of closing but which is a busy firehouse that is well-known in the area, to say that closing any fire engine companies is a dangerous proposition.
"The close fire companies now, when our fire protection is responding more than ever, simply does not make sense," said Crowley. "Seconds count, we all know that," said Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steven Cassidy. "The taxpayers of New York, the citizens of New York deserve the best fire protection, and they're not going to have it if Mike Bloomberg gets his way. It's up to the communities to stand up and say no."
"We understand we are in an economic crisis, we understand we have to balance the budget, but there are certain areas that we shouldn't touch," said Rodriguez
Rodriguez said that Engine 93 gets double the calls of any station house in the city.
"I understand that the city needs to balance the budget, but I believe there are areas such as education, housing and safety, especially with a fire house, that should be included," said the councilman.
Neither the mayor nor the Fire Department have specified which engine companies will have to be closed, but they say tough financial times force them to save money in all areas of the city's budget.
Further details are expected when the mayor presents his executive budget next week.