|Article Last Updated: 10/11/2005 09:18 AM|
|"It's not a thing we want to do."|
|That quote, given to the Connecticut Post by Bridgeport's Chief Administrative Officer Michael Feeney, was made in regards to the city's plans to close indefinitely the Fire Department's Engine Co. 5 on Oct. 14.|
And it only stands to reason that the city would not be eager to shut down another fire engine company, the city's seventh company closing in the last 18 years.
After all, during the past 12 months, the city has had four fatal fires, with a total of 10 dead.
And at the same time, the city's department budget has a projected $1.2 million shortfall. But while we all can be sympathetic to the budget woes of the city of Bridgeport, it would be making a potentially deadly mistake by closing Engine Co. 5.
Bridgeport Mayor John M. Fabrizi has said that the city's fire department response time would not suffer as a result of closing Engine Co. 5, and that the city will hire at least 16 new firefighters by next year in addition to reassigning all firefighters previously affiliated with Engine Co. 5.
While city officials will try as hard as they can to attempt to make up for the loss of yet another engine company, the truth is as basic as it is troublesome: there will be one less engine company in Bridgeport to respond to a fire.
That means, almost certainly, that there will be a longer response time to a fire. Indeed, several officials from the Bridgeport Fire Fighters Association Local 834 have said as much publicly in denouncing the plan.
In the field of public safety, every passing second can mean the difference between rescue and tragedy.
Its understandable that the city needs to address its budget shortfalls, but closing Engine Co. 5 is a dangerous move. Surely, there must be some better way to save $1.2 million.
The Post strongly urges the city to reconsider and to keep Engine 5 open.