Concerns Over Closing Fire Stations

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KCBS) _ Dozens of firefighters in San Jose spent much of Saturday handing out leaflets around their station house, concerned about pending closures.

Because of budget cuts, the department is set to lose several firefighters and close five engine companies.

“The firefighters will be laid off. The rigs will go into storage,” said Randy Sekany, president of the San Jose Firefighters union.

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Sekany said residents in the neighborhoods where the stations are closing are going to be severely affected by the cuts.

“These folks are now going to have to basically take on the responsibility of saving their own lives and properties to a degree much higher than a lot of other communities in town,” he said.

Neighborhood leader Helen Chapman, who lives near the soon-to-be-closed Station 30 on Auzerais Avenue,  said there must be a way to save fire rigs and firefighters.

“I’ve heard it would go to one of the longest response times. We have a very lean fire department as it is covering a million people,” she said.

The cuts will take effect August 1st and firefighters said they have offered to accept cuts to wages and benefits to save their department from the tough cuts.

Department leaders concede that response times will drop, but said a new dispatch system will aid in deploying firefighters where and when they’re needed.

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