Majority Leader Van Bramer, Firefighters, and Concerned Residents Rally to Reopen Engine Company 261

On Friday, June 23rd, I joined firefighters, the President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York Gerard Fitzgerald, members of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, the Dutch Kills Civic Association, Community Board 1, representatives from Assembly Woman Cathy Nolan and Simotas’s office, and community members held a rally calling for the re-opening of FDNY Engine Company 261.

We must do all we can to support our City’s bravest and keep our growing community safe from the devastating power of a fire. Engine Company 261 gave the people of this neighborhood comfort for over a century, and today we call for it to be reopened so that our City’s brave firefighters can once again provide life-saving help to the rapidly growing population in Long Island City and Dutch Kills.

In 2003, the Bloomberg Administration argued that the Engine Company was underutilized and ordered that the Company, and five other fire companies, be shut down as part of a budget deal to save the city money. Now over a decade later, the population growth of Long Island City and Dutch Kills makes the re-opening of the firehouse necessary to fully protect the community and ensure rapid response times to put out fires. The building that housed Engine Company 261 is within blocks of two of the largest public housing communities, cultural institutions like Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Museum of the Moving Image, and several schools.

Engine Company 261 was first organized on June 12, 1894 as Engine 3 of the Long Island City Fire Department. On January 1, 1913, the house was officially reorganized to Engine 261. The Engine Company served the community for nearly a century and was ordered to be shut down, along with five other Engine Companies, by the Bloomberg Administration on May 25th, 2003 as part of a budget deal to save the city money.