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Firefighters rally against firehouse closings near City Hall

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Marching across the Brooklyn Bridge to a rally near City Hall Friday, hundreds of firefighters and their supporters denounced Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to shut down 20 firehouses in a cost-saving measure.

Demonstrators lined lower Broadway holding up hundreds of signs with sentiments such as “Tell Mike to Take a Hike” and depicting a black-gowned grim reaper with the face of the mayor.

Numerous Queens elected officials, including state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and City Council members Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), spoke to demonstrators, warning the mayor’s plan must not succeed.

The mayor has said the shutdowns would save New York City $55 million, but critics contend it would cost lives with more time required for firefighters to respond. Bloomberg administration officials have yet to issue their final decision on the firehouse closings.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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