FDNY fuming over pol’s pump bill

Paint the town red! Councilman wants new hydrant markings
Photo by Bess Adler

The Fire Department is hot and bothered about a bill being pushed by a Southern Brooklyn lawmaker that would shrink the “no parking” area around fire hydrants from 30 to 20 feet, saying its big rigs need all the space they can get.

Councilman David Greenfield (D-Midwood) co-sponsored legislation proposed by a Queens politician that would allow drivers to park five feet closer to a hydrant, claiming that fire trucks don’t need the mandated 15-feet of space on both sides of a johnny pump.

But New York’s Bravest are throwing water on Greenfield’s assertion.

“Our trucks are 30 feet long, so we need all that space to park and operate,” said Fire Department spokesman Frank Dwyer.

Before the Fire Department started ringing its alarm about the bill, Greenfield insisted that reducing the allotment would not pose any problems for firefighters.

“The 15-foot-rule is an antiquated law,” Greenfield said. “Fire trucks aren’t parallel parking in these spaces, they just pull up next to them.”

Greenfield has not responded to the our request for further comment, but one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Mike Nelson (D-Sheepshead Bay), said he would like to survey firehouses to see if their trucks really need at least 30 feet of space.

“A comprehensive study would have to done before the bill is passed,” said Nelson’s spokesman, Steve Zeltser.

Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) introduced the bill, which is co-sponsored by five Brooklyn lawmakers, including Greenfield and Nelson, in April.

Earlier this month, Greenfield followed up Dromm’s proposal with a bill mandating city workers paint red marks around every fireplug in the city so drivers know exactly how far they must park from them.

The Fire Department also bristled at Greenfield’s suggestion that whoever is responsible for inspecting the hydrants be responsible for painting the “no parking” zone.

“Do you think fire fighters have enough time to paint curbs?” Dwyer said. “It just isn’t practical for us to go out and paint after we inspect and test out the hydrants.”