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Hundreds protest possible closing of Bayside Firehouse

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Several hundred concerned citizens, along with their elected officials, gathered around the corner of 41st Avenue and 214th Place in Bayside Wednesday to protest Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to permanently shut the doors of FDNY Engine Co. 306. The fire company is one of 20 throughout the city being proposed for closure.

The FDNY calculates response times in the area that Engine Co. 306 covers would increase to 6:04 minutes from 4:49 minutes if and when it is shut down.

“The mayor’s effort to shut this firehouse down is not going to succeed,” said Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), who sits on the Council’s Fire & Criminal Justice committee along with Chairwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).

“Are they closing any fire companies near where the mayor lives?” asked Crowley, to which the crowd responded with a boisterous “no!”

State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing), Uniformed Firefighters Association President Stephen Cassidy and a representative from U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) all came out to show their support for Engine Co. 306 and to rebuke the mayor’s efforts to cut essential services.

A request for comment placed to the mayor’s office was not returned at the time this article was posted.

Halloran and others have planned a protest for Friday at 11 a.m. when they plan to march across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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