The Fort Worth Professional Fire Fighters Association turned up the heat in the budget battle over department staffing Monday, organizing retired Fort Worth Chief Larry McMillen and two other ex chiefs.
The city’s latest recommended 2014 budget calls for staffing cuts that will mean the daily deactivation of two fire companies, on average. That will lead to higher response times at those stations.
“As fire chiefs, we can definitely state that seconds count and minutes are an eternity when it comes to responding to fires and emergency medical calls,” McMillen, retired Plano Fire Chief Hugo Esparza, and former Dallas Chief Eddue Burns said in a statement.
With increased fire response times, “there is an increased risk to property and lives, and correspondingly that risk is generally passed along to businesses and homeowners through increased costs in property insurance premiums,” the statement said.
“Randon deactivation of fire companies is not the right solution as it gambles on chance, and it it impossible to protect all citizens equally.
“When you randomly deactivate a fire company in one area, you not only affect that area, but in truth you put the entire city and all citizens at greater risk of increased fire and medical emergency response time,” the statement said.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter