Quirky character actor Steve Buscemi has been arrested during a protest over the closure of a New York fire station.

The star, best known for off-beat films like The Big Lebowski, Fargo and Reservoir Dogs, locked elbows with politicians in an attempt to keep the city from closing one of its oldest firehouses.

The 45-year-old, who worked as a firefighter from 1980 to 1984, calls the closures "irresponsible" and "dangerous", adding, "This is compromising the safety of all the communities where the firehouses are closing."

Opened in 1855, Engine 204's firehouse bears the letters 'BFD engine 4', dating from the late 18th century, when Brooklyn was a separate city to New York and horses that pulled the steam pumper were stabled across the street.

City officials have justified the closings, expected to save $7 million (GBP4.6 million) a year, by saying population shifts have made the firehouses unnecessary, and that emergency response times, measured in seconds, will not be slowed.

26/05/2003 13:11