The People’s Firehouse (PFI) announced last Wednesday that it’s beginning a year-long campaign to promote fire protection in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, two neighborhoods that have seen a dramatic population growth.
According to executive director Daniel Rivera, since the city approved a large-scale rezoning of the area in 2005, the population has increased from 155,972 in 1990 to 173,083 in 2010.
“Yet fire protection services have not increased in Brooklyn Community Board 1 during this period,” Rivera said.
Rivera pointed out that in 2003, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg closed Engine Company 212 on Wythe Avenue in Northside Williamsburg. When the city tried to close Ladder Company 104 in the Southside, community residents mobilized to save it.
“Assuring that all residents of North Brooklyn have adequate fire protection is an issue with which Mayor Bill de Blasio is familiar,” Rivera said. “As a councilman, he was arrested while working to save Engine Company 204 in Cobble Hill, as I and others were arrested here in Northside while working to save Engine Company 212.”
According to Rivera, then-councilman de Blasio won a community activism award for his efforts.
To kick off the fire protection campaign, the People’s Firehouse commissioned an artist to design a campaign button. They’re giving away 1,000 buttons at their building at 113 Berry Street to raise awareness.
“We’re asking people to wear them everywhere they go,” said Kurt Hill, director of outreach and anti-arson programs with the People’s Firehouse, “to school, to work, to church, to temple, to mosque, to the theater, to support increased fire protection in our community.”
The PFI campaign will run through the mayoral election next year, which ends on November 7.
“A large number of new buildings, including high-rises, have been constructed to serve the growing need for homes in North Brooklyn over the past period,” said Del Teague, chairwoman of the People’s Firehouse. “What is the city doing to meet the special firefighting requirements of the increasing number of high-rise structures?
“Are officials making plans to expand fire protection, such as bringing back Engine Co. 204 as a Cobble Hill neighborhood firehouse?” she added.