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North Miami Beach

Eastern Shores residents preparing to fight to keep fire station

Residents in the Eastern Shores neighborhood of North Miami Beach have started a campaign to keep their local fire station open — again.

The station, received an average of three service calls per day, shut down for about a month last year, only to be reopened once response times were found to not be on par with the Miami-Dade County Fire-Rescue Department’s standards.

Now the station, located at 16435 NE 35th Ave., is back on the chopping block as the county looks at possibly getting rid of six fire-rescue trucks in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Commissioner Sally Heyman delivered the news during a July 16 North Miami Beach City Council meeting in which she called for the community to take action.

“It is a safety issue,” she said to the council. “I can’t think of a better form than to reach out to you, who have always prioritized public safety, in all capacities, to rally our community. This is not an area where we save money in.”

As word spread about the potential closure, members of the Eastern Shores Crime Watch were sent an email that read in part: “We must fight it again, and we must not allow the county to consider this every time there are budget cuts.”

They later sent another message that provided email addresses for the county mayor and commission and asked residents to email them about this issue.

Eastern Shores resident Fortuna Smukler said is she concerned that rescue crews may have a hard time reaching the isolated community in a timely manner due to traffic along Biscayne Boulevard or Northeast 163rd Street — the only roads connecting the neighborhood to the rest of the city.

Smukler is worried that a bridge to the east linking her neighborhood to Sunny Isles Beach could be drawn up or malfunctioning during an emergency, which would cause delays.

Service to Eastern Shores is expected to come from surrounding stations.

“If they feel as if it’s OK to let someone die to save money, then God bless them,” she said.

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