In Albany, New York the mayor wants to save more than $1 million by shutting down Ladder 1. Citizens and firefighters forced a budget meeting to end early last night (Wednesday) with their efforts to fight the closing of the fire company. Also, below is a short video from Albany Firefighters to help rally support to oppose the closing.
Emotions boiled over on Wednesday night as angry firefighters and city residents battled with Mayor Kathy Sheehan, intent on saving a fire truck they don’t want to live without.
Sheehan says the city simply can’t afford Ladder 1, and taking it out of service will save taxpayers $1.2 million.
Jeers, shouts, chanting and heckling ran rampant through the room.
By eliminating Ladder 1, the city would be left with three ladder trucks. The next closest one to the South End would be at the Delaware Avenue fire house, near St. James Street.
Throughout the hearing on the 2015 budget, chants of “Save Ladder One!” filled the small John A. Howe Library meeting room. More than 100 people crowded inside the room and spilled out the door and up the stairs.
Fire Chief Warren Abriel said response times from other departments would be the same and that Ladder No. 1 was chosen to be cut because it’s in the smallest territory.
The ladder truck only goes 100 feet, the equivalent of reaching a sixth or seventh floor, so firefighters would still be needed to reach higher floors, Abriel said.
Bill Bucci, an Albany firefighter who retired three years ago, said the department should keep the truck as a matter of safety not only for the residents, but also for the firefighters.