2002-04-13 / Editorial/Opinion

Leave Well Enough Alone

Leave Well Enough Alone

There is no doubt that the firehouse on Beach 59 Street needs to be replaced or renovated. We say that, despite the fact that it was built originally by a relative of a member of The Wave Staff in 1929. There is a controversy over that firehouse that goes deeper than the building itself. The city has plans to move the fire companies that now house the building to a new building on Beach 48 Street, on a lot north of Rockaway Beach Boulevard. There, the city will build a new, state of the art building that will house not only Ladder 121 and Engine 265, but EMS ambulances as well. While that sounds as if it is good idea, we believe that the new building should be sited at the Beach 59 Street site of the present house. There are a number of reasons for our contention. First of all, the present firehouse is nearby both Ocean Village and the 2,300 homes that will soon be built as a part of the Arverne By The Sea project. To move that house even a mile east would increase the response time, especially when the firehouse on Beach 92 Street houses only an engine truck. There is no ladder truck assigned to that small house. Secondly, the proposed site on Beach 48 Street abuts a nursing home. I know that the rules require that fire apparatus not turn on sirens until they are on the street, but that rule is breached more often than not. Firefighters who oppose the move point to the recent fire on Beach 87 Street in which a baby was killed. Had the responding ladder truck been farther away, more lives could have been lost because the response time would have been two or three minutes longer. The city should leave well enough alone. Tear down the present house, but build a new firehouse on the same site.

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