After criticism over the 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. closings of four firehouses across the city, the Staten Island Advance announces the Fire Department has come up with "an ad hoc addendum: The companies will be staffed with surplus firefighters, when available."
FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta testified in front of the City Council yesterday over the cuts at Engine Companies 4 (Manhattan), 161 (S.I.), 271 (Brooklyn), and 53 (Bronx), which would save $8.9 million. Staten Island's City Councilman James Oddo said, "This is a zero sum game. For every one dollar we take and spend on some knucklehead idea somewhere else in the city, it's a dollar taken away from essential services."
Councilman James Vacca of the Bronx, whose City Island firehouse is getting cut, said, "By the admission of the fire department, if this cut takes place on City Island, ladder company response from the next nearest company will be 9.5 minutes. It's now 5 minutes. You're asking us to accept a doubling of ladder response time," but Scoppetta held firm on the closings.
FDNY spokesman Francis Gribbon told the NY Times that since the FDNY has had a surplus of firefighters, “[Tonight], if we have excess personnel, we’ll staff that firehouse." However, since the FDNY isn't getting recruits this year, that excess personnel may disappear in the spring.