City Island Fire Brings Debate About Station Cutbacks

An early morning fire on City Island in the Bronx has residents questioning whether it's safe to limit use of Ladder 53. The New York City Fire Department plans to effectively shut down the firehouse from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. to save money. It's the only firehouse on City Island, and Councilman James Vacca says this morning's 4 a.m. blaze is a sign residents need it open.

VACCA: When the ladder company on City Island needed back-up and asked for another ladder company to come it took them 20 minutes to get on City Island and today was a day of no traffic under optimum fire fighting conditions.

REPORTER: The FDNY disputes that, saying it took off-island trucks 10 minutes to reach this morning's fire. A spokesman for the FDNY says Ladder 53 was chosen for service cutbacks because it only responded to two fires in 2008. He says there will still be an engine company on hand to respond to overnight fires on City Island.