It's official: Engine 11 on Brock Avenue in New Bedford's South End is now closed permanently.  A makeshift sign was placed outside the station on Sunday, stating Engine 11 was now closed "forever."

The shutdown of the fire station was recommended last month by Fire Chief Paul Coderre after he was asked by Mayor Jon Mitchell to come up with a plan to end the "rolling blackout" policy of closing fire stations around the city. The closing happened Sunday.

The shutdown was not without controversy. South End residents and members of the Firefighters Union had staged demonstrations outside the Brock Avenue station and City Hall to protest the closing. Residents said the move would leave the South End peninsula without adequate fire protection.

Chief Coderre says he is extending the coverage area of other apparatus in the city to make up for the loss of Engine 11. City officials claim response times in that area will be well within national firefighting standards.

The City of New Bedford is in the process of constructing a new Public Safety Complex on Brock Avenue that will house police, fire and EMS units. It's slated for completion in 2021.

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