FDNY REFUSES TO SAVE THIS OLD LADY

By SAM SMITH


February 8, 2004 -- Engine 43/Ladder 59 in The Bronx is a 99-year-old grande dame of FDNY firehouses. But these days, the crumbling station just looks like an old hag.

And don't let the scaffolding ringing the place fool you: It's not there because repairs are being made. It's there to keep the falling bricks from hitting pedestrians. The firehouse celebrates its centennial in May.

"We were hoping the scaffolding would be gone by then so guys who worked here could come by and see the place," said one firefighter at the house. "They said it won't be down by then."

But the falling bricks are only the tip of the station's crumbling iceberg. The watchhouse, the office where calls come in and the alarm is sounded, is missing almost two dozen cinder blocks. Nearly an entire corner of the office is gone.

The sliding pole has come loose at the top. The dishwasher doesn't have water pressure, and the shower leaks. Walls are cracked. And then there are the rats.

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