ELMHURST, Queens (PIX11) — Firefighters are a beloved part of the neighborhood and the firehouse represents safety and security.
But in Elmhurst, Queens along Grand Avenue, the building that houses the FDNY is showing some wear and tear. Neighbors fear it may have to close. The city says the structure needs to be rebuilt or significantly repaired.
In a lawsuit filed this month, the New York City Law Department, which represents the mayor and city agencies, seeks to recover $23 million.
“We are determined to hold these owners and their contractors responsible. They should pay for the costs the City has incurred to address the dangerous conditions and get this firehouse fully repaired,” said NYC Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix.
The city built a shelter across from the firehouse in a side street to park the heaviest vehicles.
James McMenamin lives nearby and works with the Newtown Civic Association. “There had been no work for 11 years and then this past year work began again by another development company,” he said.
Neighbors are working with local elected officials and community boards. “The firehouse must stay open. If they’re thinking of closing it, it has to be relocated close by,” said Sally Wong.
Part of Councilmember Bob Holden’s district is covered by the firehouse. “It’s unfortunate a firehouse is to be displaced and an entire street closed. The community is distressed by this on a number of levels. What do we do if we build another building? How long will that take,” he said.
They are asking the administration for more information on the next steps.
A representative for one of the contractors did not have a comment for PIX11 News and emails to other businesses were not answered.