New York Fire Patrol Struggles To Stay Afloat

Updated: 09-15-2006 04:29:18 PM

Firehouse.Com News

The fire patrol that has performed salvage operations for more than 150 years is slated to close next month.

New York, N.Y.-- There's an old-fashioned block party planned in New York City on Sunday.

But along with the balloons, punch and cookies, there will be some serious business served as well.

The hosts, the New York Fire Patrol, say they're in the fight of their lives, and are asking residents to help keep them afloat.

As they celebrate the centennial anniversary of Fire Patrol Station 2 in the heart of Greenwich Village, the patrol also is faced with a move to end their service to the citizens of New York City.

The fire patrol that has performed salvage operations for more than 150 years is slated to close next month. However, officials say it's not over yet.

A hearing with New York City officials is set for Oct. 4, but fire patrol members say they are not optimistic that they will be saved as is or absorbed by the city. They're also asking that the Attorney General issue an injunction banning the closure, said Eric Shultz, vice-president of the Fire Patrol Union.

The salvage unit responds to major fires and incidents along with the FDNY. Armed with tarps, the crews don turnout gear and SCBA and go into the buildings to cover up furnishings. It's a task that the patrol says has long been overlooked.

It costs $8.5 million annually to operate the 100-person team that operates out of three houses. They handle about 10,000 calls, and save more than $100 million worth of personal property each year.

Thirty-two members have died in the line of duty including one who was helping civilians evacuate the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

The patrol is concerned about its employees, who could be out of work next month. "These are dedicated people," said Tony Emanuele, a member.

Nearly 700 residents have signed a petition to save the fire patrol, and Emanuele said he hopes to get more signatures in the next few weeks. He said it's frustrating, adding that the decision to close the stations was made based on bad information.

He said they're now asking for help from the people they've aided over the years.
Courtesy of the New York Fire Patrol