The Red Truth Hezitorial
Firehouse Station 1 was designated condemned and closed within 24 hours on Friday, June 5, 2015. The 88-year old structure which had housed two companies was deemed structurally unsound, summarily condemned. It was emptied with 24 hours. The promised but long-delayed necessity to protected the most densely populated district in The City of Yonkers has been eviscerated because the prudently located fire stations and their specific capacity to save lives, limbs, and property by the very equipment and personnel that defined them is no longer func ironing. A cohesive and effective infrastructure of firehouses no longer exists because they can no longer function to serve neighborhoods in a remedy manner. A response time of 3 minutes when Station 1 was in operation, may now take 10 to 15 minutes when there is no traffic at 11 o’clock at night and during commuting hours may delay response time to ½ an hour. The necessary equipment for high-storied rescue is now situated miles from the community that most needs it, not the single and two-family structure that dot Yonkers East Side. The Resuce truck is now parked across Yonkers Raceway.
Southwest Yonkers is the most vulnerable district in the entire city. It suffers the greatest loss of life, the most number of dislocated people due to fire, and property that is least resistant to fire due to the the old housing stock, the closeness of the structures to one another, and the lack of fire mitigating systems, such as sprinkler systems, electrical systems that are quickly overloaded and prone to fire be of use beyond capacity due to use of space heaters, air-conditioners, among other uses that exceed electrical systems capacity.
Southwest Yonkers is represented by Christopher Johnson, District 1, and Corazon Pineda-Issac, District 2. District 1 is designated an African-American opportunity district, while District 2 represents a predominately Hispanic populace. Both districts have been deficiently represented by their Yonkers City Councilmembers due to their silence and lack of leadership in giving voice to the constituencies they are tasked to represent. Neither they, nor Minority Leader Michael Sabatino, District 3, have divulged the public’s concern in deference to the dire safety requirements of the people they had sworn to represent. The silence among the elected officials who represent the most marginalized communities of the City of Yonkers puts into question their purpose, capacity, and responsibility to the electorate which they swore to represent and interests they promised to express.
Were it not for the leadership taken by the International Association of Fire Fighters – Yonkers Local 628, the dire threat to lives, limbs, and property would continue to gain little notice. Yonkers Fire Fighters continue to focus on the issue of respecting people of every culture, ancestry, house of worship, age, gender, economic circumstance, sexual orientation, political perspective, or financial wherewithal. Neither fire, nor Yonkers Fire Fighters discriminate. Yonkersites can trust and be comforted by Yonkers Fire Fighters’ unswerving focus and resolve to protect all lives, limbs, and property when so many other centers of power have long ago abandoned their purpose to serve they people they are asked to serve to the best of their capacity.
The looming 2017 campaign trail has already begun, some expressed while others are obliquely spoken about. Every elected official, and those that vie for elected office must attend to the needs of Southwest Yonkers in support of a quick and purposeful rebuilding of a replacement for Yonkers Fire Station 1 and the equipment that it must be capable of housing so as to best serve the entire city. Words expressed with heart, resolve, integrity, and consistent and unwavering resolve to bring about the necessary replacement of Fire Station 1 in order to resurrect the one-time well positioned infrastructure of firehouses and equipment that served the entire city effectively and in a timely manner.
This is not a time for silence. Yonkers Fire Fighters are making the rounds to make people aware of this dire concern. They began their effort by presenting the concerns of every resident in Yonkers by reaching out to disparate, yet equally concerned people at the Yonkers Women’s Catholic Association (YWCA), to the Hudson River Community Association (HRCA), and the Nepperhan Community Center (NCC), among many more they will reach out to. They do so on their days off, offering some snacks and water to satisfy people’s hunger after a long day at work, and digging into their personal funds to bring the importance for their safety to them, so that they may remind their elected representatives. The issue of lives, limbs, and properties in Yonkers must be immediately be funded, engaging the Yonkers Fire Commissioner Sweeney, the Yonkers Fire Fighters, community interests, and stakeholders, with respect to the city’s needs recognized so long ago, that is, to return to center stage today the dire needs of all Yonkersites for demanding quick remedy within days to mitigate future concerns tomorrow.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano has the opportunity to give voice to the needs of the people he has sworn to serve, and must further direct the Yonkers City Council to move toward approving and cementing the financial capacity of the city to fund the replacement of Fire Station 1 on the periphery of Chicken Island and the corner of School Street with timely purpose and effort.
Must residents die because Fire Fighters are too far away from serving all sections of the city’s residents? Must people be removed from their homes by fire in order for this concern to be mitigated? It is best to move on rebuilding Fire Station 1 than await a death or deaths with feigned pain, agony, and despair.
Are prudent, pragmatic, and benevolent response unwarranted? How so?
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano has run out of excuses since none are valid no matter how this concern may be judged