Friday, July 27, 2018
Dutch Kills wants firehouse reopened now that it's overdeveloped
From the Queens Gazette:
Neighbors, local lawmakers, union officials and local leaders are renewing their wake up call to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the FDNY, to reactivate Engine Co. 261 before it’s too late to save lives.
The engine company located at a hook and ladder firehouse at 37-20 29th Street in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City served the community for more than a decade until May 2003, when budget cuts under the Bloomberg administration forced its shutdown.
Ladder Co. 116, which shared the firehouse with Engine Co. 261, remains in service at the 29th Street house. Firefighters, aka “truckees” assigned to Ladder Co. 116 are usually the first to respond to local fires where they force entry, search for victims and ventilate burning buildings. The firefighters also perform rescues and provide medical assistance at fires and in other emergency situations, officials at the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) said.
“All of a sudden, we were left with nothing but a prayer if we needed a local engine company to pour water on a fire,” Dutch Kills Civic Association President George Stamatiades said. “Fifteen years is far too long to be without adequate fire protection. The Dutch Kills community has come of age and we need the fire protection that is justified by our residential growth.
“We will continue our fight for the reactivation of Engine Co. 261 until the city is ready to acknowledge the need for increased fire protection for our booming residential community,” Stamatiades said. “Will it take a tragedy in one of the new high-rise residential or commercial buildings in Dutch Kills for the administration to wake up and smell the smoke?”
Stamatiades, one of dozens of local leaders who battled with city officials more than a decade ago to keep Engine Co. 261 activated, said Dutch Kills was a much different community in 2003.
“City officials said Engine Col. 261 had to go, because there wasn’t enough need for it,” he said. “We’re telling the city to take a new look at Dutch Kills today. Take a look at the new Dutch Kills and Long Island City communities that boast thousands of new residential units that tens of thousands of people call home.”