"Over the last 5 to 7 years Long Island City and the communities around it have seen very rapid growth in population and an explosion in construction. New York City must respond to this reality and reinstate Engine Company 261 as soon as possible,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. "The safety of New Yorkers in Queens should not fall victim to an old cost-cutting measure we all knew was a bad idea when it was implemented. I fully support the men and women of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association demanding that Engine Company 261 is reinstated. Common sense and our City’s obligation to put safety first must prevail here. Thank you to Congress Member Maloney for calling attention to this issue and working to get it solved.”
- FDNY Engine Company 261 was housed with FDNY Ladder Company 116 until 2003, but was closed as Bloomberg era cost-cutting measure. The 22 members of Engine Company 261 were transferred to other units.
- Engine Company 261 served Roosevelt Island as well, which has seen a population explosion of its own with the construction of Cornell Tech and several new apartment buildings.
- Ladder Company 116 continues to use the station where Engine Company 261 had been co-located so it would take very little investment to return Engine Company 261 to its original location.
- Long Island City is the fastest growing community in the nation. The development of projects and sites along the waterfront will bring a large influx of workers and residents to the area, which requires upgrades to infrastructure and fire safety measures.
- Engine Companies provide water and hoses to fight fires. Ladder companies are responsible for search and rescue and ventilation (making holes in roofs and windows), but lack the equipment to put out a fire. Without an Engine Company, Ladder Company 116 lacks the equipment and personnel to fight fires adequately and relies on engine companies from a full half a mile away to put out fires. FDNY has broken its run record for five consecutive years and unit availability is at an all-time low.
- According to FDNY statistics, in 2017, Queens had the worst response times in the city – 4 minutes and 36 seconds to respond to a structural fire – Brooklyn, with the best response time was nearly a minute faster at 3 minutes and 43 seconds. 2017 was a particularly deadly year, with fire deaths up 50% over the previous year.