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NYC residents complain of ambulance fumes

Fire officials: Ambulances need to idle to power medical equipment without draining batteries

NEW YORK — A plan to keep ambulances at a station near expensive real estate in New York City has neighbors complaining about the exhaust and sirens.

Residents of pricey apartments in West Chelsea see the station as a nuisance, not a safety benefit, according to

“We have nieces and nephews that come to visit, and it was a nice day and they had problems going outside on the terrace because of the fumes,” one resident said at a recent meeting.

“My apartment gets filled with exhaust at 7 a.m. in the morning,” said Patrick Proctor, another resident of the buildings surrounding the station. “It gets filled with exhaust at 11 at night.”

“I don’t think anyone’s questioning the necessity of having ambulance service on the West Side of Manhattan, but the fact of the matter is this station is surrounded by five residential buildings.”

But FDNY and current owners of the property where the EMS station was established in November are inching closer to a land-use change application that would extend the terms of FDNY’s lease, according to the report.

The neighborhood board voted to ask the City Planning Department to deny the application unless the department encloses and ventilates the area, investigates alternative fuels for the ambulances and escalates the search for a new location away from a residential area.

“When they chose this site, they must have been aware that there is nothing but residential buildings around it,” board member Sarah Desmond said.

“They better be looking somewhere else, because this ain’t forever.”

The property used to be a parking lot, which saw much more exhaust activity than the station’s seven vehicles coming and going three times per day, David Harney, chief of staff for the Deputy Fire Commissioner, told the website.

“My first quality-of-life issue is life itself,” he said.

The ambulances need to idle to power medical equipment without draining the batteries and they are unable to plug into nearby power sources, fire officials said. But neighbors complain the fumes get trapped under the High Line park and then trickle into their apartments.

“We’re working to reduce the time the unit has to idle,” Capt. James Foley said. “We are reminding our crews that this is something that affects the neighbors.”