Firehouse, Engine Company 261 and Ladder Company 116

From WikiAlpha
Jump to: navigation, search
The below content is licensed according to Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License contrary to the public domain logo at the foot of the page. It originally appeared on The original article might still be accessible here. You may be able to find a list of the article's previous contributors on the talk page.

Firehouse, Engine Company 261 and Ladder Company 116 is a New York City Fire Department firehouse at 37-20 29th Street in Long Island City, Queens, New York City. The firehouse was originally built in 1932 for Engine Company 261 and Ladder Company 116.

Engine Company 261 was established in 1894 as Long Island City Fire Department's Engine Company 3, and was renumbered in 1913. Engine Company 261 served both Long Island City and the nearby community of Roosevelt Island until 2003, until it was closed as a cost-saving measure, while Ladder Company 116 still operates out of the firehouse. Fire officials, local residents, and business owners have argued that the engine company should be re-opened.


Construction of the present firehouse at 29th Street started in the 1930s. After the foundation was completed, work was halted by early 1932 because the New York City Comptroller, Charles W. Berry, had failed to allocate funds for construction.[1] Berry approved construction contracts for the firehouse in late March 1932.[2] The building opened in November 1932 and was the first firehouse in Queens with its own water tower. Upon the opening of the 29th Street firehouse, Engine Co. 261 and Ladder Co. 116 vacated their former headquarters at 38-08 28th Street, one block away.[3]

Engine Company 261

Engine Company 261 was established as Long Island City Fire Department's Engine Company 3 in 1894. It was renumbered after Long Island City was annexed by New York City in 1913.[4]

In 2003, Engine Company 261 was closed as a cost-saving measure.[5] The closure was one of six announced by Michael Bloomberg, on May 26, 2003.[6] At the time of its closure it had served both Long Island City and nearby Roosevelt Island.[7] The New York Times noted how residents who lived near the closed stations expressed various degrees of distress, with some other closures triggering greater distress.[6]

In June 2017, New York City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer and local residents started to advocate for Engine Company 261's reopening, citing large population growth in Long Island City.[8] Representatives of the Fire Fighter's Association said that the population of the station's service area had grown from 60,000 when it was closed to 200,000 in 2015.[7] Efforts to reopen the engine company increased in late 2018 and early 2019, after Amazon had announced that it had chosen a site near the station to house their massive new headquarters, Amazon HQ2.[5][9][10][11][12] Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan pointed out that when mayor Bill de Blasio was a city councilman, he had also argued for reopening the station.[13] Other advocates of Engine Company 261's reinstatement included U.S. representative Carolyn Maloney, whose 12th congressional district included Roosevelt Island and Long Island City.[14] However, plans for reopening the engine company were postponed in mid-2019 after the cancellation of the New York City campus of Amazon HQ2.[15]

Ladder Company 116

Ladder Company 116 still operates within the firehouse. The difference between the two companies is that the ladder company focuses on rescuing occupants of buildings on fire, while the engine companies focus on actually fighting fire.[7][15][16]


  1. "Berry Blamed for Delay on New Fire House". New York Daily News: p. 621. March 4, 1932. 
  2. "Berry Approves Fire House Work". Brooklyn Times-Union: p. 56. March 26, 1932. 
  3. "Queens Fire Department Gets Own Water Tower". New York Daily News: p. 397. November 8, 1932. 
  4. "Engine Company 261 Queens". Retrieved November 13, 2019. "Engine Company 261 was orgainzed on June 12,1894 as Engine 3 of The Long Island City Fire Department. Then it was reorganized to Engine 261 on January 1, 1913." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Rich Calder (January 14, 2019). "FDNY may re-open firehouse to serve Amazon boom in Queens". New York Post. Retrieved November 13, 2019. "John Sudnik, the FDNY’s acting chief of department, testified during a city council hearing that the administration is looking to re-open Engine Co. 261 as a new ambulance company in the booming neighborhood." 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Corey Kilgannon (May 26, 2003). "Some Firehouses Go Quietly, Some With Rage". The New York Times: p. A1. Retrieved November 13, 2019. "The scene yesterday seemed just as poignant at Engine Company 261 in Long Island City, Queens. It shared a firehouse with Ladder Company 116, so the house itself would be staying open." 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech (December 21, 2018). "Long Island City residents want city to reverse ‘a very bad decision’ and reopen FDNY engine company". Queens Courier. Retrieved November 13, 2019. "According to a 2015 community health profile, Astoria and Long Island City are home to about 201,400 people. Engine 261 was the designated firehouse for Long Island City and Roosevelt Island, which according to 2010 U.S Census data, is home to roughly 11,661 people. The Roosevelt Island Bridge — the only vehicular access point to the island — connects with Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City." 
  8. "Leaders, Residents Call For Reopening Of Long Island City Firehouse" (in en-US). June 23, 2017. 
  9. Dave Carlin (December 19, 2018). "Long Island City Rallies For Return Of FDNY Engine Company Amid Population Boom". CBS News (New York City). Retrieved November 13, 2019. 
  10. "Officials Want FDNY Engine Brought Back Before Amazon Arrival". NY1 (New York City). December 20, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2019. "Proponents say it's needed now more than ever because of the growth in population and businesses in Long Island City, and an Amazon headquarters on the way." 
  11. Nathaly Pesantez (January 17, 2019). "FDNY May Add Resources in Fast-Growing Long Island City, Expects Amazon to Add Strain". Long Island City Post. Retrieved November 13, 2019. "The site would also require $1.2 million in facilities work, including an expansion to bathroom facilities and officers quarters, to fit the two companies." 
  12. Michelle Cohen (January 15, 2019). "FDNY says Amazon’s HQ2 may overwhelm an already stretched LIC fire department". 6 sqft. Retrieved November 13, 2019. "Chief Sudnik said the community district once served by Engine 261 showed a 19 percent increase in emergency calls to the FDNY between 2014 and 2018; the department’s response times over the same period became 9 percent slower. The adjacent district–the one that will host Amazon’s new offices–saw emergency calls up 16 percent during the same time, according to FDNY officials, and a 4 percent increase in FDNY response times over the same period." 
  13. "As population booms, Long Island City wants a fire company reinstated". WNYW (New York City). Retrieved November 13, 2019. "In 2003, the population of the neighborhood was about 60,000 but now it is about 200,000, Jake Lemonda of the uniformed fire officers association said at a rally outside the firehouse on Wednesday. He added that the future arrival of Amazon will mean more workers and residents." 
  14. Merlino, Victoria; Sperling, Jonathan (December 18, 2018). "Rep. Maloney Petitions For Engine Company to Return to LIC" (in en-US). 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Locals, lawmakers push to reopen Long Island City firehouse". WNYW (New York City). August 23, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019. "Ladder and engine companies work together to put out fires and are usually housed in the same building, but in this case, Ladder 116 and its closest counterpart, Engine 260, run separately, roughly a half-mile apart from one another." 
  16. "Dutch Kills Renews Call for Shuttered FDNY Engine Company to Reopen, Cites Population Growth" (in en-US). December 19, 2018.