2010-06-18 / Editorial/Opinion
A Deadly Decision To Close Engine 328
On Wednesday, the Rockaway community came together for a very important reason. They were protesting the planned closing of Engine 328, one of the two engine companies stationed at the Big House on Central Avenue in Far Rockaway. While the fire department won’t say which city companies will be cut as part of the draconian budget cuts proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, firefighters who work on the engine were told to get ready to shut down operations by the end of the summer. The firefighters told The Wave this week that the closing of one of the two engine companies stationed at the firehouse would put the community at risk. “We are such an isolated community,” one of the firefighters, who asked not to be identified because he has no permission to speak with the press, said. “In most places fire apparatus come from all directions to help out. There are no other directions in Far Rockaway, because we are surrounded by the bay, the ocean and Nassau County.” He is right. Every community in New York City likes to think that it is special. In this case, however, Rockaway is special. In every other community in the city, there are nearby firehouses ready to provide aid should one company become overwhelmed with a massive fire. In Rockaway that is not true. The nearest fire apparatus is miles away, in Rockaway Beach and in Jamaica. We have reported on numerous examples of fires where many engine companies (and ladder companies as well) were needed to fight a fire. One engine company is not going to be able to handle the load that the Far Rockaway community demands.