Rally To Save "The Ghostbusters Firehouse"

Council member Margaret Chin, Council member Elizabeth Crowley, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, actor Steve Buscemi, UFOA & UFA, community leaders and Tribeca residents rally to save Ladder 8
“the Ghostbusters firehouse”

New York, NY – Today, Council member Margaret Chin (District-1, Manhattan), Council member Elizabeth Crowley Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, joined special guest and former FDNY fire fighter Steve Buscemi, as hundreds of Tribeca residents rallied to keep Ladder 8 – the famed Ghostbuster firehouse – open.

Julie Menin, Chair, Community Board 1; Steve Cassidy, President, and Jim Slevin, VP, Uniformed Firefighters Association; Dan Murphy, Manhattan Trustee, and Ed Boles, Treasurer, Uniformed Fire Officers Association; Diane Lapson, IPN Tenant Association President, lower Manhattan residents, community advocates, joined forced in a show of support for New York’s Bravest.

“Mayor Bloomberg thinks lower Manhattan can do without Ladder 8,” Council member Chin said. “Today, lower Manhattan is here to tell the Mayor: keep Ladder 8 open! For 100 years this community has entrusted Ladder 8 to protect their families, homes, and businesses. Ladder 8 is the difference between life and death for residents who were here on September 11th, who were here for the Grand Street fire, and for the families and children of Tribeca.”

The cuts in Mayor Bloomberg’s FY12 budget call for the closing of two firehouses in District-1, lower Manhattan – Ladder 8 in Tribeca and Engine 4 in the Financial District.

Ladder 8 has served lower Manhattan for 100 years, and has responded to major incidents including the World Trade Center bombings, September 11th Attacks, and Deutsche Bank fire. At the tragic 283-5 Grand Street fire last year, Ladder 8 rescued two elderly women with limited language capacity, one of whom was disabled, from the fifth floor.

“The world knows this firehouse from the movies, but for the people who live in lower Manhattan this is the firehouse that protects their families every single day,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “The cuts to Ladder 8 represent a total surrender of government’s first responsibility: protecting its people. We won’t let the City shutter this or any other company.”

Senator Daniel Squadron said, "Ladder 8 has been a critical part of this community for over a century, and is all the more important as we continue to grow and rebuild. The firehouse has provided essential emergency services and saved countless lives during its long, brave history, including as first responders on September 11th. Losing Ladder 8 would be a danger for Lower Manhattan residents and a loss for this whole city."

Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, said, “The proposed closing of Ladder 8 is just another example of the Mayor's ill-conceived budget. The Mayor's policies have encouraged the rapid growth of Tribeca, but as the population swells, the Administration seeks to remove essential services that are crucial to public safety. This is both shortsighted and unwise"

“Once again, Mayor Bloomberg wants to close 20 fire companies that protect communities across our city. If he succeeds, the safety of all New Yorkers will be severely impacted. Closing 20 fire companies directly and negatively impacts 80 different communities,” said Steve Cassidy president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA). “According to FDNY statistics, 2010 was its busiest year in the Fire Department's 145 years, while the last 7 years have broken previous emergency response records. Mayor Bloomberg has forced nine rounds of cuts on the FDNY including already closing seven fire companies (2003/2009) and reducing engine company staffing levels this past February (2011). As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks and as New York and our nation are on heightened alert for terrorist retaliation attacks, to close firehouses is dangerous and self-destructive."

Daniel Murphy the UFA Manhattan Trustee added, "Closing fire companies has a disastrous impact for both safety and the economic protection of a community. Closing firehouses any time does not save taxpayers money. When fires burn for longer periods of time more families will lose their homes and vital businesses that make up the fabric of our neighborhoods and create jobs in the community are destroyed. There are no winners if firehouses are closed.”

Al Hagen, President, Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said in a statement:

“Nobody could ever hope to run a city as large and complex as New York without advice and guidance. Sadly Mayor Bloomberg is being misguided by those who advised him not to fully fund snow removal, and that his army of contractors and consultants were better than civil servants and therefore did not require supervision.

The results of listening to that advice was a city paralyzed for days with an out of touch mayor advising us to take in a Broadway show while we waited for the plows and $600 million dollars of taxpayer money being stolen or spent in a "suspect manner" by the Bloomberg appointees in charge of the CityCrime initiative .

If he listens to the misguided advice of his friends on the (rich) Citizens Budget Committee and the Manhattan Institute that it safe to close firehouses, his legacy will be like that of Nero: Bloomberg golfs (in Bermuda) while New York Burns. The end result will be that he'll wish it was snowing again!”

Julie Menin, Chair of Community Board 1, said, “We in Lower Manhattan know firsthand the importance of preparedness. Closing Ladder 8 now would be nothing short of irresponsible. Regardless of budget constraints, we cannot compromise the safety and protection of our citizens.”

Jeanne Wilcke, President, Downtown Independent Democrats, said “The costs saved by closing Firehouses are miniscule compared to the costs of loss of life and property that will result.

The population has increased 91% in 10 years, we are expecting millions of visitors to the 9/11 Memorial, and we have thousands who work downtown every day. Emergency services are crucial to protect downtown NYC, and with memories of 9/11 never far from our thoughts, closing these services down is unthinkable."

Diane Lapson, President, Independence North Tenants Association, said, “Our community has suffered greatly from both attacks on the World Trade Center and the aftermath from 9/11/01. Manhattan has been a target for years, how intelligent is it to close our much needed fire houses? In the 36 years that I have lived downtown, our ladder 8 was always a comfort to us, during thick and thin. They were there for us all these years and we are supporting them now. We consider the decision to remove our Ladder 8 fire house insensitive to our needs downtown.”

Ladder 8 responds to many structural fires in buildings that once housed factories and warehouses, but which have been converted to residential properties and lofts. The FDNY has recognized that these buildings are unique and pose many technical problems in fires. The FDNY has recently written a special set of procedures to deal with fires and emergencies in these buildings.