U.S. Army Reserves Sgt. Barton Fendelman, a Battery Park City resident stationed near Baghdad, emailed Downtown Express an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg objecting to the nighttime closure of the Engine 4 fire company on South St.
Fendelman, also a member of the F.D.N.Y., wrote the day before Christmas: “I worry about the safety and health of my family. The last thing I need to be concerned with is that the safety of my wife and two children will be further compromised as a result of these ‘staff reductions.’”
His letter appears on Page 18. We were curious how things were going in Iraq and what he thought about B.P.C., and he was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:
Downtown Express: The impression we get is things are much better now. How long have you been there and is it a lot better? How bad was it?
Barton Fendelman: I have been here since July and the situation has gotten better. There still are security risks, but the threat level has been reduced a bit.
DE: Do you know when you’re coming back home?
BF: Spring of 2009.
DE: Where was the last firehouse you were stationed at?
BF: I was assigned to the Department’s Hazardous Materials Unit, which is located in Queens, but responds citywide.
DE: Do you plan to stay with the F.D.N.Y. as soon as you get back?
BF: I do, I am way too young to leave the greatest job on earth!!!
DE: Have you ever been at a Downtown firehouse?
BF: I have never been assigned to a Downtown firehouse, but have worked in a few as a detail for a tour.
DE: How long have you lived in B.P.C.?
BF: March 2002.
DE: What do you like about living there?
BF: The small town community feel of the neighborhood due to its isolation imposed by West St.
DE: What don’t you like?
BF: The lack of infrastructure for all of the new residential buildings that have been built.
DE: Do you think you’ll move in the next 5 years?
BF: Not sure, depends how much my family’s rent increases. It is getting to the point that I am no longer able to afford to live in a part of the city that I am sworn to protect. If my family is forced to move it will be to either Brooklyn or Queens.
Can you do me a favor, I am not sure my letter was electronically received by City Hall. Can you forward it to the Mayor for me?
Hope you have a safe and wonderful New Years. I enjoy reading the paper and
miss it while serving over here.
DE: Will do Barton. You be safe too.