THE BRONX - Twenty fire companies citywide, including three in The Bronx, have been saved from looming cuts.

The fire companies were slated for closing under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's budget proposal for 2012.

Among the saved companies is Engine 46 in Bathgate, an engine company in Mott Haven and a ladder company in City Island.

City Councilman James Vacca (D-District 13) praised the mayor's decision, saying that closing the ladder company in City Island would have increased response time by at least 10 minutes.

"It would've meant a loss of life, without a doubt," he says.