STUDY BLASTS 'DEADLY' FIREHOUSE CLOSURES

By FRANKIE EDOZIEN, IKIMULISA SOCKWELL- MASON & DAN KADISON


May 21, 2003 -- Shutting down firehouses would result in "deadly" delays of 30 seconds or more and would "domino" out to other areas of the city, according to a new study by the firefighters union.

A day after Mayor Bloomberg spared two more of eight city firehouses that had been slated for closing, the International Association of Fire Fighters - along with the Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association - called for the other six engine companies to stay open, and issued a report to bolster their arguments.

Using computers and satellite mapping data, the IAFF analyzed the FDNY's emergency-response times and found that a time lag of up to 30 seconds happens if there is a closure and jumps to a minute if a second emergency occurs, and could ultimately burden more of the area's resources once a "domino effect" sets in.

Bloomberg "is playing firehouse roulette with people's lives," said IAFF president Harold Schaitberger in City Hall Plaza. "A New York minute in this game is deadly."

The mayor defended the remaining closings once again yesterday. "I will not jeopardize the safety of this city," Bloomberg said.

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the closures would have "minimal impact on operations."

Additional reporting by Kenneth Lovett and David Seifman



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