Ladder 53 may close due to budget cuts

A total of 16 engine and ladder companies across the city are slated to close, and one of them is in the Bronx.Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scopetta came under fire Friday when he was grilled by City Council members over the latest decision to completely close 16 fire companies. On that list is Ladder 53 on City Island."We don't expect any kudos for closing firehouses, we don't want to close firehouses, this is a direct sign of the times,? says Scopetta.The thought of not having a firehouse has residents feeling unsafe. ?The nearest ladder company is in Co-op City, separated by two drawbridges. There's no way they could get there before 20 minutes,? says Barbara Dolensek, of City Island. Scopetta tried to assure Bronx residents that the department would be able to pick up the slack and keep the city safe, but firefighters say that's a lie. "There?s no way the fire grid in New York can withstand [the closures] without [a] serious increase in response times,? says Steve Cassidy of the United Firefighters Association. If the budget cuts move forward, the firehouse will close July 1.