After operating for more than a century, FDNY Engine Company 261 in Long Island City was closed down in 2003.
Since then, the neighborhood has experienced major growth and it’s poised to become home to a part of Amazon’s second headquarters. And calls to reinstate the engine company are growing.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) stood with representatives of the Uniformed Firefighters and Uniformed Fire Officers associations, community leaders and elected officials on Wednesday to call for Engine 261 to be brought back.
They gathered at 37-20 29 St., the engine company’s former headquarters. It was co-located there with Engine Company 116, which is still in operation.
“Firefighters have been asked to do more and more with fewer resources, and as the disastrous 5 alarm fire in Sunnyside shows us, we cannot continue to put lives at risk,” the congresswoman said in a statement. “We must have an adequate number of personnel and equipment to serve this growing community — we need Fire Engine 261.”
Roosevelt Island was also served by Engine 261. Since the company’s closing in 2003, the island also has experienced major development and population growth, along with the establishment of the Cornell Tech campus.
City Hall gave the Chronicle a comment in response to the press conference about the engine company.
“Keeping New Yorkers safe is the Mayor’s top priority,” mayoral spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg said in an email. “We’re always evaluating resources, demands, and response times and with an eye toward the future we will continue to do that in Long Island City.”
According to the Department of City Planning, more residential units were built in the neighborhood last year than in any other throughout the five boroughs.
Amazon’s HQ2 plan is expected to bring 25,000 new employees to Long Island City.