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News report: Memphis brown out to save overtime comes on weekend of double fatal apartment fire.

Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

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A fire around 4:00 Saturday morning at the Wingood Manor Apartments in Memphis, Tennesee killed two men. WMC-TV reports the fire, near Winchester Road and Goodlett Street, occurred at a time when a company serving the area where the fire occurred was one of four rigs unstaffed to avoid overtime.


Brown outs happen when fire trucks are taken out of service in an effort to cut down on overtime. The fire happened in Truck 21's territory.  Truck 21 was one of four trucks browned out that day.

TN Memphis fire department brownouts

"I don't like it at all, it's nothing I prefer to do as fire director, its something I don't want to do. We want every truck in the city to be fully staffed, everyday all day," said Memphis Fire Director Alvin Benson.

Fire trucks need personnel to operate them, but if too many firefighters call in sick then the fire department has to pay overtime to keep the trucks on the street.  Declaring a brown out can save money, though Union representatives say it's not a safe solution.

Sources say Truck 21, responding to this territory, was in a brown out on Saturday morning. 

Memphis Firefighters Union President Thomas Malone said he could not comment on Truck 21 until he had all the information.  He did say, however, that brown outs are a dangerous way to save money and says it will only get worse if they continue.

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