Firefighters fight proposal to close Station 7 with newspaper ad

Syracuse firefighters union, Local 280, placed and ad in The Post-Standard in an effort to stop Fire Station 7 from closing. The ad ran in Thursdayâ??s "Neighbors" section.

The station on East Fayette Street, between University and South Crouse Avenues, may be closed as city officials try to deal with a major deficit and an old fire station they say needs over $1 million worth of repairs.

The advertisement claims that nearby firehouses save lives in medical and fire emergencies as both are dependent on time. It says fires double in size each minute, and the risk of death from a heart attack drastically improves when responded to under 5 minutes. The ad asks residents to call on their local officials to explain their rational for closing Station 7.

At Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Minerâ??s â??State of the Cityâ?? address on Thursday evening, members of the firefighters union lined the perimeter of the building to protest the potential closure. The mayor addressed their presence after her speech.

"The issue of fire station 7 has become premature and blown out of proportion. It's part of putting together our budget. I shared with you tonight that we have a $21 million budget deficit. We can't borrow, we can't do anything else. We're going to have to make tough decisions," said Mayor Miner.

The Vice President of the Local 280, Paul Montondo, told CNY Central it was an opportunity for firefighters to show solidarity.

"Essentially the decision is going to come down to the city and the common council and the mayor for keeping station 7. Station 7 is essential to the entire city," says Montondo.

The President of the Syracuse Fire Association, Lonnie Johnson told CNY Central last week that the union will do whatever it can to keep the station open.

The mayor's office also says Station 7 handles a large number of medical calls, but few fires, which Johnson says is inaccurate.

Ultimately, the fire department's budget will be left to Fire Chief Mark McLees and his staff. McLees did not respond to our request for an interview.

The advertisement reads in full:

"A fire location is the reason firefighters are able to respond rapidly during an emergency. A fire will double in size every minute, so a delayed response due to a closed firehouse could turn a small fire into a major disaster. When someone is having a heart attack, there is a 75% chance of survival when help arrives within 3 minutes. That survival rate drops to 20% when delays to 5 minutes.

"Without these strategic firehouse locations people will wait longer for help to arrive during an emergency. Local 280 encourages anyone who lives of works in the area, from the University section to Hawley-Green to stop in to Fire Station 7 and talk to the men and women who work there. Talk to the people who will be there for you.

"Call Mayor Miner, Chief McLees and your common councilor and ask them how they can justify closing one of the busiest fire stations in the city.

"Mayor Minerâ??s Office: (315) 448-8005

"Chief McLeesâ?? Office: (315) 473-5525

"Engine co. 7 responded to 5,931 emergency calls in 2012

"Calls to date 1,714 as of 1/22/13