AR-News: (NY - US) Firefighters admit defeat in battle against rats

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Fri Aug 8 13:32:29 EDT 2003


Firefighters admit defeat in battle against rats
By David Usborne in New York
08 August 2003


Rats in New York are a fact of life. They scurry between the rails in subway stations. They startle late-night strollers, shooting across the pavement and vanishing into piles of rubbish bags.

The city's residents know they are there and ignore them. But sometimes, they just can't. The fire station in Queens has been battling rats for several weeks and, finally, the rodent army has triumphed.

After every attempt at extermination failed, the city authorities conceded this week that there was nothing to be done but to move the firefighters out. The station, meanwhile, will be gutted and rebuilt..

For the firefighters, the decision comes as a huge relief. Night after night, they heard the animals rustling in the walls. Beady eyes peered at them from crevices in their kitchen. Those killed by poison gave off an unbearable stench.

Stephen Humenesky, of the Uniformed Firefighters' Association, said: "When you take out your pots and pans to cook and they're loaded with rat droppings, it makes for a very unappetising situation."

The rat affair has also become a political pest for Michael Bloomberg, New York's Mayor. The vermin are symbolic of the old image of New York, as a place of decay and danger.

Christine Quinn, a city councillor, said: "Once one tourist in Iowa sees it, you have a thousand of them cancelling their tickets to New York."



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