New Detroit Budget, New Cuts: Fewer Fire Trucks Will Respond to Each Blaze
As the city rolls out the its new July 1 budget, Detroit fire fighters learned Monday that the department is trimming its response to reported incidents.
For years, dispatchers have sent three pumper engines, one ladder truck, one rescue squad and one battalion chief to all reported structure fires, but that response soon will be cut by one pumper and the four fire fighters who ride on it.
Not every engine at a fire is used to pump water, but the department has long believed the extra personnel was necessary to attack the blaze.
"I hope everyone has a garden hose," said Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association.
Department officials could not be reached Monday night. In the past they have said extra units can always be summoned to a fire, as needed, just as they are now.
Under the new budget that was agreed to as part of the consent agreement with the state, the fire department’s budget is being cut by $23.5 million, to $160 million.
Last week, Mayor Dave Bing announced the layoffs of 164 fire fighters, but 100 of them will keep their jobs, thanks to a $22 million federal grant.
That still leaves a few dozen fire fighters who will be laid off. The department also is planning to take about 15 rigs out of service and ban overtime.
The rigs slated to go: Engines 5, 8, 20, 21, 23, 31, 33, 38, 42 and 47, Ladder 1, 10, 16, 24 and TAC 2.
On paper, before the cuts, the city had 881 fire fighters and about 66 rigs protecting the city, though the department de-activated up to eight rigs every day for budget and manpower reasons.