2002-05-25 / Front Page

Council Approves Firehouse Move

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

With only three members dissenting, the City Council voted on Tuesday to approve the building of a $9.2 million combined firehouse and emergency medical service on Beach 48 Street.

The controversial proposal to move the firehouse from its present location at Beach 59 Street drew opposition from many firefighters and from local civic groups.

One of those who voted against the proposal was Councilmember Joe Addabbo.

"This proposal is not in the best interests of Rockaway or of any of its residents," Addabbo argued. "No matter who they are."

Addabbo was reacting to the contention of some members of the council that the fight to keep the firehouse at its present location was "racially motivated" because the majority of firefighters are White, while the majority of EMS workers are not.

Firefighter Palmer Doyle, in a recent letter to The Wave, stated the firefighters opposition to the proposal.

"If there is a fire in the west end, Ladder 121 is the company that will be coming to your bedroom to rescue your family," Doyle says of the ladder company at that firehouse. "If this new firehouse is built, and Ladder 121 is now 12 blocks further east, what is going to happen to the response time to your home?"

Doyle says that the politicians who voted for the move will be "held criminally liable" by the community should somebody die because of the increased response time.

Councilmember James Sanders, who represents that area, voted for the move, although he reportedly called it an "imperfect resolution."

Those who oppose the move have indicated that they may try and have the vote reviewed by the council’s Public Safety Committee or may litigate to get the proposal shelved.

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