LOST ON 9/11

Hazmat 1
Chief John Jack Fanning
Capt. Patrick J. Waters
Capt. Thomas Moody
 Lieutenant John Crisci
Dennis Carey
Martin N. Demeo
Thomas Gardner
John Giordano
Jonathan R. Hohmann
Dennis Scauso
Kevin Smith

Squad 288
Lt. Ronald T. Kerwin
Peter Brennan
Ronnie E. Gies
Joseph Hunter
Jonathan Lee Ielpi
Adam David Rand
Brian Sweeney
Timothy Matthew Welty

These are the nineteen firefighters from Squad 288 & Hazmat 1 stationed in the Maspeth Fire House who gave their lives during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Located at Borden Avenue and 68th Street in Queens, this unassuming building was their home away from home. And while still a fully functioning fire house, it now also serves as a monument to their sacrifices.

Engine Co. No. 288 was organized in Sept 1, 1913 in the former quarters of the Queens Volunteer Fire Department’s Maspeth Engine Company No. 4 at 61-55 Maspeth Avenue. They moved into their current quarters at 56-29 68th Street on October 1, 1914. On July 1, 1998 Engine Co. No. 288 was disbanded and reorganized as Squad Co. No. 288, and transferred to Special Operations Command. It has served the community well throughout those 100 years.

As the building’s centennial anniversary nears, my brother, Steve Fisher, and I believe it is time that the City designate this historic building a landmark. We have initiated the process by submitting a Request for Evaluation with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. We need all the support we can find to realize its designation.

Our family has deep roots in Maspeth; our great-grandfather came here in 1919 and opened a men’s clothing store on Grand Avenue that spanned four generations over half a century. The construction of the Long Island Expressway in the 1950s afforded us a view from our store across to the Fire House.

Of those among you who grew up in Maspeth, who does not have some personal connection with the Maspeth Fire House?  For me, it will always be the memory of the “class trip” that my first grade made to visit the Fire House to learn firsthand from one of its firefighters the rules of fire safety.

Hopefully, the Commission will recognize the special historic significance of the stately brick and limestone facade of this building. Besides the age of the structure, the first responders to the 9/11 attack from this fire house lost more firefighters than any other station. Landmark status will ensure that the memory of those men who lost their lives trying to save others will always have a home.

Kenneth Rudzewick, President & CEO of Maspeth Federal Savings, has written a wonderfully supportive letter, which we included in our submission to Landmarks. Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, has also sent the LPC a letter supporting the designation.

We are confident that community support will go a long way in convincing the Landmarks Commission that this house of heroes deserves to be named a landmark. It is our hope that you, as members of the community, are encouraged to write to the Landmarks Preservation Commission expressing your support of the landmark designation.

Please address letters to:
Ms. Mary Beth Betts
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
Municipal Building
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor North
New York, NY 10007

Should you require any further information or details concerning this project, please do not hesitate to contact Maxine Fisher at Sylviebix@aol.com.

Maxine Fisher is an author and professor of English at Queens College; Steve Fisher is a retired architect who, as a photo-journalist, contributes to the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s web site and other publications.