New York, NY —
The city's fire department says response times citywide, on average, dropped by 15 seconds last year, compared to 2007.
Fire officials say the response time is the best in 14 years. Fire fatalities also decreased, from 95 in 2007, to 86 in 2008. Mayor Bloomberg says the numbers show the city can do more, with less, during its budget crisis.
BLOOMBERG: So far we've had fewer firefighters, better response time, lower death rates. So far we've had fewer cops, crime keeps coming down, and that's the great challenge. Will it be easy? No, and there will always be noise in the data so you can say, 'look it's jumping up.'
REPORTER: The announcement, made at a new fire house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, comes as the FDNY prepares to suspend overnight tours at four firehouses, starting this Saturday, to help save money.