PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ―
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New cuts may be coming to the Philadelphia Fire Department and they could include rolling closures of firehouses.
What if you stopped by your local firehouse and found the firefighters who would normally be first to answer your call weren’t there at all that day?
It could happen.
The city announced as many as four units each day may be taken out of service in neighborhoods city wide in hopes of saving more than $3.5 million in overtime to ease the city’s budget crunch.
“He’s (Mayor Michael Nutter) rolling the dice and he’s playing Russian roulette with people’s lives,” said Bill Gault, President of Local 22, the firefighters’ union.
Unlike past permanent shutdowns of five engine and two ladder companies, which prompted large neighborhood protests, neighbors apparently won’t be told in advance or perhaps at all if their local engine or ladder company is being put out of service.
“It’s smoke and mirrors. The citizens don’t have any idea there’s nobody in there,” Gault said.
When asked if the rolling service cuts were an attempt to disguise fire department cutbacks in order to defuse neighborhood protests, Mayor Nutter said: “We’ve been very straightforward quite frankly. We’re not disguising anything.”
Nutter said the rolling cuts will enable the city to avoid layoffs and added that protection for residents will not be impacted.
“When you call 911, we show up, that’s the bottom line,” Nutter said.
A few years back the current Mayor was in City Council. The Mayor at the time John Street proposed closing firehouses. Mike Nutter made a statement along the lines that closing firehouses was crazy. Well it looks like Mike dun gone crazy! He has taken a samurai sword to the fire protection of the citizens of Philadelphia. At the end of the report he says:
“When you call 911, we show up, that’s the bottom line,”
How will that happen when random stations will be closed. There is NO science for where fire will strike. It is an equal opportunity destroyer. How long will it take if a fire breaks out next to a closed firehouse. Seconds and minutes count when fire strikes and closing random companies is just insane.
What other cuts has he proposed? Why is it all about the fire protection? I will tell you why. Police and Fire can not strike. They are the low-lying fruit. He is obviously a weak man because he now can’t make the tough decisions.