Group takes legal action over firehouse closures

May 15, 2003, 7:49 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) _ A group of elected officials says it's suing the city and the fire department in an attempt to block the closure of eight firehouses.

The group, which includes Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and City Councilman Bill de Blasio, charges that the city did not meet requirements to explain why the eight units were selected for elimination.

Newsday reported Thursday that the lawsuit was filed Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, where the offices of the fire department are located.

The suit, which also names Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, also charges that the city has not disclosed the impact that closing the firehouses would have on communities.

A judge ordered a hearing in the case for May 20.

Bloomberg, seeking to close a $3.8 billion budget deficit, has slated the eight firehouses to be closed by May 23. The firefighters at those units will be transferred to another one of more than 470 firehouses in the city.

Mayoral spokesman Jordan Barowitz told Newsday that "The lawsuit is frivolous and without merit and a waste of taxpayers' money."