Will Bronx firehouse close?
Will Bronx firehouse close?
BY WILLIAM MURPHY
August 3, 2004
Residents of an isolated section of the Bronx fear their aging firehouse is next on the list for closing.
The Fire Department will say only that Ladder Co. 39 on West 233rd Street in Woodlawn may be closed for major repairs, but worried residents met Sunday night to voice their concerns.
After the closing of three firehouses and the elimination of three other firefighting units last year, area residents, politicians and fire union officials do not trust the city to re-open the house.
"I've been hearing from a lot of people about this," Assemb. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), who represents the area, said yesterday. "There's no commitment from the Fire Department whether they'll ever re-open it if they close it for repairs."
Capt. Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said he had heard about the possibility of the house closing and had gone to the community meeting Sunday night.
"My understanding is that Commissioner [Nicholas] Scoppetta is being evasive when asked if this is being closed, and that's what has people worried," Gorman said yesterday.
"If they had a plan where they said they'll re-open in a year, say, people would say 'Okay.' What the community is concerned about is that as soon as they're out, they'll condemn the building, bulldoze it and sell the property," Gorman said.
Edward Brown, Bronx trustee of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said he had heard the same speculation.
The Fire Department did not respond directly to questions about whether the firehouse would be re-opened after any closing for renovations.
"Re-open what? We haven't made a decision about closing anything," department spokesman Frank Gribbon said yesterday.
He said there might be a need for some repairs, perhaps even a floor-to-ceiling renovation, and the company might have to be re-located.
Asked again if the house would be re-opened if it was closed for repairs, Gribbon replied: "There's been no decision on any of that. There's been no decision on anything yet. How can you ask if it's going to be re-opened?"
The firehouse serves a neighborhood that is blocked off by Van Cortland Park to the west and Woodlawn Cemetery to the south. The city line is the northern boundary and there are only two overpasses across the Major Deegan Expressway to the east.
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.
The reason they are asking these questions are becasue they have done this in the past and they are looking to do this again. They close a house for repairs and move the company to another nearby firehouse...then they decide to close the original house despite neighborhood objections. Engine 15 on the Lower East Side is a prime example. We'll have to see what happens.