San Jose Fire Dept. To Have Fewer Engines During Holiday Weekend

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Two fire engines are being taken out of service at San Jose’s least busy fire stations as part of the rolling brown outs instituted because of the city’s $115 million deficit.

The loss of engines at Station 29 on Zanker Road and Station 9 on Ross Avenue began during a holiday weekend when call volume to the San Jose Fire Department often doubles.

“The amount of fires that are reported can double and we get hundreds of calls for fireworks,” said Capt. Mary Gutierrez, even though fireworks are illegal in San Jose.

Gutierrez said the two engines were chosen to minimize the impact on response times. Both stations will still have a truck.

The brown outs are just part of the staff cutting at the San Jose Fire Department. The remaining 9 engines will have four firefighters instead of five.

Union president Robert Sapien said he and other battalion chiefs would probably call more resources to a fire early to make up for the loss of manpower.

“With just four personnel, we won’t be able to split companies. We’ll have to make decisions on what function is most important at that moment,” he said.

Officials said the brown outs will continue until at least August when the city rehires the 49 firefighters laid off in 2010.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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