In Detroit words has come down that box alarms will now consist of two engines instead of three. That’s because the city will be operating with 10 fewer engine companies. Four ladder companies are also being cut. In addition the reduction in companies means 200 firefighters will be reduced in rank and 156 will face lay offs. The union president says one impact will be a significantly older firefighting force.
Here are the list of companies that will be closing according to WJBK-TV – Engines 5, 8, 20, 21, 23, 31, 33, 38, 42 and 47, Ladder 1, 10, 16, 24 and TAC 2. Below are images of Detroit Fire Department orders outlining the cuts that have been making the rounds on Facebook since this afternoon.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s Fire Department cuts started taking effect Monday night. The cuts have people on edge in a city that sees its fair share of fires.
“Like ‘American Pie’ by Don McClean, the day the music died,” said union Chief Dan McNamara. “This may be the day that firefighting died as we know it. And we’re very proud of what we do.”
The mayor’s office said no one likes this but it is where the city is. They have to make cuts. They have no choice.
Between 5 and 8 fires broke out overnight on Detroit’s east side as fire crews from the west side of the city joined to help extinguish the flames. The first fire started late Monday night and several other fires sparked through early morning.
Just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse, “the city has essentially said I think everybody better make sure they have their own garden hose,” said union president Dan McNamara.
“The citizens of the city are going to suffer because they can say what they want, they cannot justify these closings.”
“Out of a thousand people, we have 18 people under the age of 30, so you’re going to have old people like me riding the back ends, 50-year-olds on the back ends of fire trucks, and less fire trucks taking longer to get there, so guess who suffers,” McNamara said.
The city is responding saying these cuts are going to happen, but 108 of the 156 firefighters being laid off will get their jobs back, they claim, through a SAFER grant and the rest they’re hoping will be able to get their jobs back through attrition. However, firefighters say they’re worried because right now they’re short 300 firefighters.
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