In a letter of his own sent to Williams, Malverne Fire Chief Scott Edwards wrote that the MTA offered no advance notice to the Malverne Fire Department about the operation — which, he added, involved lowering the gates at the Ocean and Franklin Avenue crossings in addition to the Hempstead Avenue intersection, all at the same time, and blocked the firehouse, at 30 Broadway, north of the LIRR crossing, from the south side of the village.
“Fortunately, there was no fire emergency while this activity was being conducted,” Edwards wrote. “Had there been, the Fire Department delay to that emergency would have been very significant, severely impacting our operation, increasing the loss to property and putting the lives of civilians in unnecessary jeopardy.”
In order to avoid future incidents, Edwards wrote, the MTA should abide by certain procedures before undertaking this kind of work, such as notifying the Malverne Fire Department at least two hours before it begins and dispatching MTA police and other personnel to each crossing to ensure the safety of pedestrians and vehicles.
In response to the letters, Williams apologized for the poor execution of the operation in an official statement, assuring residents that MTA officials would work to efficiently communicate with the village in the future, and install police at the Hempstead Avenue station to prevent similar problems.
“The LIRR should have notified the village prior to the work being performed, and we apologize for any inconvenience this critical work caused local residents,” Williams said. “Due to the very difficult winter and repeated snowstorms, the LIRR has deployed crews across Long Island to clear the right of way of snow and ice in an effort to keep trains moving.”