We are poignantly reminded of their bravery each September as the nation remembers the results of the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center.
The residents of Woodhaven have two guardian firehouses: FDNY Engine 293, a.k.a. the Woodhaven Wildcats, on 87th Street, and FDNY Engine 294/Ladder 143, or El's Angels, on Jamaica Avenue.
Both of these firehouses have been protecting Woodhaven for over a century, with the El’s Angels reaching the century mark earlier this year.
Up until the official formation of the FDNY, the residents of Woodhaven were protected from fire by various volunteer fire departments.
The members of the FDNY that protect our community will be honored at the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association’s annual gala celebrating Woodhaven’s finest on Friday, October 2, at Roma View Fine Catering in Howard Beach.
Engine 293 and Engine 294/Ladder 143 will be inducted into Woodhaven’s Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon those who have not only contributed to our community, but who have done so in such a way that it deserves to be remembered for all of time.
“We are fortunate to have two great firehouses protecting us,” said Martin Colberg, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. “They demonstrate bravery that is almost hard to comprehend. They put themselves in dangerous situations in order to save people they have never met.
“What they do on a daily basis is truly remarkable and we look forward to being able to celebrate with them and thank them for all that they have done,” he added.
Over the years, both firehouses have been in danger due to budget shortfalls, and the residents of Woodhaven came out in large numbers to protest the threatened closings.
With so many old, wooden and attached homes in Woodhaven every second counts, and it is hard to fathom how the city could ever think about closing either firehouse. Consider how a few minutes extra response time could have impacted the fire earlier this year in March that gutted nearly a dozen homes on 90th Street.
“We’re happy that we haven’t had to face losing either firehouse for the past few years, but past experience means that it’s always in the back of our heads and we all have to be ready to fight,” Colberg says.
Colberg says the best way for residents to ensure that we keep Engine 293 and Engine 294/Ladder 143 around for many years to come, as well as to ensure we get better city services at all levels, is to get involved in the happenings in their community.
The next meeting of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association takes place at noon on Saturday, September 19, at Emanuel United Church of Christ at 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard.
Those wishing to join the residents of Woodhaven as they honor Engine 293 and Engine 294/Ladder 143 can get tickets through the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. Call (718) 296-3735 for more details. Tickets are $70 each and include a full buffet dinner, beer, wine, soda and dessert.
Previous inductees into the Woodhaven Hall of Fame include the legendary Lewis of Woodhaven, Ohlert-Ruggiere, Inc., a trusted name in Woodhaven for over 125 years, Emanuel United Church of Christ with over 135 years in Woodhaven, and the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps for decades of dedicated volunteer service to the community.
The first inductees into the Woodhaven Hall of Fame were Roger and Josephine Hennin, honored for decades of dedicated volunteer service to the church, American Legion and our community.
We hope that you’ll come out to celebrate the best of Woodhaven on October 2 and join us in thanking the brave members of the Woodhaven Wildcats and El's Angels.