The Fire Department's average response time to building fires in Queens increased by three seconds last year to four minutes and 58 seconds — a backslide that has some anxious Queens residents seeing red.
Worry about rise in FDNY response time
The FDNY's firehouse-to-curb time for the city overall decreased for a third consecutive year in 2007. But borough-by-borough figures released last week show that Queens trailed the citywide average by 31 seconds — an agonizing eternity when it comes to fighting a blaze.
"The numbers are getting worse instead of better," noted City Councilman Eric Gioia, whose district in western Queens has seen a considerable building boom in recent years.
"I don't mean to be alarmist, but my concern is that there's a catastrophe waiting to happen here," said Gioia, who serves on the Council's Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee.
Nice job, Doorman! Aren't you the one always gushing over the new towers on the waterfront?
But Martin Steadman, a researcher for the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, noted that Queens has historically been underserved by the Fire Department, with response times lagging the citywide average by about half a minute.
He said it's "unacceptable" that more hasn't been done to narrow that gap.
With the number of new building permits in Queens at a historic high, fire companies here are expected to only get busier.
However, the FDNY currently has no plans to add firehouses in Queens, he added.
Well, they could reopen the ones they closed. That would be a start.