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Thread: B'klyn Judge Raps FDNY On Notice Of Closing

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    B'klyn Judge Raps FDNY On Notice Of Closing



    May 29, 2003 -- A Brooklyn judge ruled yesterday that the FDNY gave "insufficient" notice to a local community board about the closing of a Queens firehouse - but he did not order it reopened.

    Justice James Starkey last week strongly recommended that Engine Co. 261 in Long Island City remain open because he had questions about whether proper notice was given to Manhattan Community Board No. 8, which includes Roosevelt Island.

    The East River island, which has no vehicular access from Manhattan, is served by Engine 261.

    The city ignored his request and closed the firehouse along with five others on Sunday.

    Starkey urged city officials yesterday to immediately begin the notice process for the Manhattan board - even as he reviews the legality of the closing.

    The hearing involving Engine 261 is part of a larger lawsuit brought by more than a dozen lawmakers.

    That suit says the city failed to give proper notification in all of the closings and also failed to conduct an environmental-impact review.

    Starkey, who last week denied the lawmakers' request for a preliminary injunction against the closings, is expected to issue a decision on the fate of all six shuttered firehouses within 30 days.

    About 30 people taking part in a candlelight vigil outside Engine 261 last night blasted the closing, chanting "down with Mayor Bloomberg."

    "I can't see how the mayor thinks response time won't change significantly given the traffic in Queens Plaza," said one of the protesters, Gloria Moloney, 50, a lifelong Long Island City resident.

    Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fire Investigation will cut more fire marshals from its ranks and close another one of its bases by mid-June.

    Around the middle of next month, the Queens base will cease operations and staffing citywide will drop from 133 to 100 marshals.

    The remaining 80 marshals and 20 supervisors will investigate only serious fires, fires that lead to death and suspicious fires.

    The base in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, will be the only 24-hour center of operation.

    "All suspicious fires will continue to be investigated," said an FDNY spokesman.

    Additional reporting by Jennifer Fermino

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    Queens engine co. may be spared

    Queens engine co. may be spared


    A Brooklyn judge offered some hope yesterday that a Queens fire company - one of six closed over the weekend - could reopen.

    Supreme Court Justice James Starkey found that the city didn't give people living on Roosevelt Island the required 45 days' notice that Engine Co. 261 in Long Island City was closing.

    However, the judge reserved decision on whether he would order the city to reopen the company. And he has yet to rule on a lawsuit challenging the city's right to close all six fire companies.

    Still, City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Queens), whose district includes Engine 261, called yesterday's finding a "huge victory."

    "The judge ruled that the city, in its haste, in its rush to close firehouses, violated the City Charter and just didn't play by the rules," Gioia said.

    City Attorney Chlarens Orsland said, "We believe that we provided proper notice to the community as required by law and respectfully disagree with the court's ruling."

    The city will appeal a decision to reopen 261, he said.

    Earlier, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said that people who didn't realize their firehouse was closing, given the publicity, "must have been living on some other part of the world."

    The FDNY has quietly moved the fire trucks from four of the shuttered companies. Activists are keeping up a vigil outside 212 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to stop the truck from being driven away.

    Originally published on May 29, 2003

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