Bronx City Council Member Marjorie Velázquez announced more than $1 million in capital funding Monday to support the FDNY in her district.
Velázquez — a Throggs Neck Democrat who represents the city’s 13th Council District — has spent time this past year discussing funding priorities with FDNY officials, according to her office. And at a press conference Monday, she announced she’d be allocating $1.39 million to the FDNY, which includes three stations in particular that are in need of repairs.
Pelham Garden’s Engine 97 station is set to receive $1.2 million for a new firehouse generator to ensure operations can continue in the event of severe weather — like last weekend’s storms and subsequent flooding — or other power issues. Engine 70, located in City Island, will use $125,000 for a new overhead door, and Morris Park’s EMS Station 20 will also receive $68,300 for a new door.
“Our emergency response partners are a crucial part of our communities and it is my mission to ensure they have the tools necessary to succeed and provide for the community,” Velázquez said. “This year’s funding will enhance the quality for Bronxites in emergency situations, from the firehouse to the communities our firefighters and EMS workers serve.”
The Bronx has a particularly troubled relationship with fire.
For the last four decades or so, the Bronx has seen many residential blazes — as well as arsons including the 1976 Puerto Rican Social Club fire that killed 25 people and the 1990 Happy Land Social Club blaze that killed 87. A fire in the South Bronx broadcast live during a New York Yankees game in the 1970s inspired the national buzz “the Bronx is burning.”
But even in the past decade, fires have continued to uproot Bronxites and cause harm to communities in the borough.
A 2017 blaze in Belmont that killed 13 people elicited city action to ensure residential buildings had functioning self-closing doors to prevent rapid fire and smoke spread. Yet, fire officials attributed the January 2022 Twin Parks North West apartment fire in Fordham Heights — which killed 17 people, including eight children and was the city’s most deadliest blaze in more than 30 years — to faulty self-closing doors.
According to Velázquez’s office, emergency response funding is part of the council member’s 2023 vision.
“These vital upgrades represent a significant enhancement to our emergency response capabilities, and further secure our commitment to the citizens we proudly serve,” said Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh during the press conference Monday.
Reach Camille Botello at [email protected]. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes