Three Manhattan Fire Companies Facing Budget Ax
By Jill Colvin and Patrick Hedlund
DOWNTOWN — Three Manhattan fire companies are slated to close under the mayor's latest budget proposal, including a pair of companies located near Ground Zero and one famously featured in the film "Ghostbusters."
The Manhattan companies — Engine 4 at 42 South St. in the Financial District, Ladder 8 at 14 North Moore St. in TriBeCa and Engine 26 at 220 W. 37th St. in the Garment District — are on a list of 20 citywide facing the ax.
The TriBeCa firehouse was used as the fictional headquarters of paranormal detectives in the hit 1984 film "Ghostbusters" and its 1989 sequel.
Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano testified earlier this week that the closures will "negatively affect response times to fires and life-threatening medical emergencies" in every community in the city, "not just those communities in the first-due areas of the companies to be closed."
Elected officials and firefighter union leaders blasted the decision Wednesday, only hours after rallying to save the companies prior to the specific locations being made public.
Uniformed Fire Officers Association president Al Hagan slammed the proposed cuts as "municipal treason," noting that emergency response times would be driven up by the closures, threatening lives.
"I believe that fire deaths will spike," he said.
Hagan was also surprised at the inclusion of Engine 26 on the list, given its proximity to Penn Station and ability to respond to incidents at the massive transit hub.
Only hours earlier, he and political leaders rallied outside of Engine 4 demanding the mayor restore funding for all fire companies facing the ax.
Noting the ongoing threat of terrorism in New York, especially in Lower Manhattan, they urged the Bloomberg administration to spare companies like Engine 4 that provide invaluable emergency services.
"This is going to be dangerous for the community," said local Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who was joined by Queens Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Council's Fire and Criminal Justice Committee.