CITY ISLAND - Councilman Jimmy Vacca announced Tuesday that City Island's only ladder company that was scheduled to close down within two weeks due to budget cuts will remain open.

Ladder 53 and 15 other fire companies across the city were slated for closure under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's budget plan. But following a public outcry, which included people writing petitions and appealing to the press, the city decided to restore $17 million in proposed cuts to the FDNY and spare the fire companies.

"City Island deserves to have services just like the rest of the city," says resident Maria Swieciki. "Many times we're overlooked."

Vacca says without Ladder 53, response times would have doubled from less than five minutes to more than 10. The nearest firehouse is located four miles away in Co-op City.

"A lot of the homes around here are 80 years old, 100 years old," says Luis Labos, of City Island. "So you can imagine we'd go up like a match."