NEW YORK (AP) - Firefighters are taking more time to arrive at
emergencies in most of the neighborhoods where fire companies were
closed in May, the fire department said Thursday. However, most of
the neighborhoods still have response times below the city average,
the department said.
Response times have increased in all but one of the Brooklyn,
Manhattan and Queens neighborhoods that were served by the
now-closed engine companies. The average increases ranged from 11
to 47 seconds. Response times in Long Island City, Queens decreased
by 4 seconds.
Only two of the neighborhoods, Long Island City and Cobble Hill,
Brooklyn, have response times above the city average of four
minutes and 50 seconds.
The other communities, "despite the closures, continue to
experience average response times that are better than most other
communities throughout the city," Fire Commissioner Nicholas
Scoppetta said in a statement.
The firefighters' and fire officers' unions called the
department figures "deliberately misleading" because they only
measure the time taken by the first vehicle to arrive on scene.
The unions called on the department to release figures measuring
the arrival of the two engine companies and one ladder company
required to begin firefighting operations.
"The New York City Fire Department continues to deliberately
mislead the public about response times," Uniformed Firefighters
Association president Steve Cassidy said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)