2000-10-28 / Front Page

Response Time Reality Check

By John C. McLoughlin

One day after The Wave broke a story about the temporary removal of a fire engine at the Beach 116 street firehouse, a blaze broke out in the Rockaway Park area, requiring support from a unit as far out as Springfield boulevard.

Last week’s front page reported that while renovations were taking place on the floor of the Beach 116 street firehouse, Engine Company 268 was moved 25 blocks east to the Beach 92 street firehouse and Ladder Company 137 was operating out of an outdoor cage on Beach 116 street. Residents and civic leaders expressed concern in the potential increase in response time, specifically in the communities of Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor, Neponsit, Roxbury, and Breezy Point.

Locals have also expressed concern that work on the Marine Parkway bridge will delay response from Brooklyn units that provide support to the west end of the peninsula.

On Sunday, October 22, at 6:26 p.m., a fire broke out on the top floor of 238 Beach 128 street. The ‘all-hands’ blaze, which is still under investigation, was responded to by 12 units and 60 firefighters.

Ladder Company 137 responded first, with Ladder 158 coming from Springfield boulevard, taking approximately 20 minutes to respond to the scene. Other companies were responding to a reported fire in Far Rockaway, and Brooklyn Ladder Company 159 was also not available.

A group of Sisters of Charity resided at 238 Beach 128 street. Due to the fire, the Sisters lost most of their clothes, furniture, etc., and what remains will probably have to be replaced because of the smoke and water damage.

On Monday morning, October 23, at 8:30 a.m., there was a fire in Far Rockaway requiring a response from ladder companies 121, 137 and 161. For a half hour, the west end of the peninsula remained without a ladder company for approximately a half hour.

Although these fires have not resulted in injuries or deaths, residents are saying that time is of the essence.

Concerned residents can voice their displeasure with this situation by calling Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen at 718-999-2004; Councilman Al Stabile at 718-843-5283; or other locally elected officials.

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