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Pols Rally At Engine 294 To Save Firehouses

With 20 companies on the chopping block, local leaders react strongly.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council are playing a familiar game of political hot-foot with the city's firehouses.

Twenty firehouses are on the chopping block in New York City in the mayor's current budget, the same number that have ended up there in previous years, only to be saved by eleventh-hour wrangling. 

, which serves parts of Forest Hills. It was closed once already in the city's history, from 1975 to 1991.

On Tuesday, the engine company was the site of a rally with City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Assembly members Mike Miller and Rory Lancman, and state Sen Joe Addabbo.

 “For the third year in a row, the Bloomberg Administration has put our FDNY companies on the chopping block,” said Crowley. “Fewer fire companies mean longer response times, more property damage and more lives lost. It simply doesn’t make sense to cut companies when our first responders are responding to more fires and more emergencies than any time in their history."

Addabbo put it succinctly.

"Once again the mayor is threatening to close firehouses and is literally playing with fire,” he said. “When you play with fire you get hurt. People should not be subject to the mayor playing with fire."

Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy, who has stood in front of Engine 294 and given a similar speech in the past, said he couldn't believe the mayor kept going back to the same cut threats.

"Closing any fire companies defies both logic and public safety," Cassidy said. "New Yorkers have needed more services and not less from New York City Firefighters, as the modern FDNY is a rescue department for all New Yorkers in need."

According to Bloomberg, the city can save millions by closing the firehouses without taking a dangerous hit in response times. 

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