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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Matt Bigler
  • James Greybush

    how can we afford to rehire them while laying off cops?

    • Dirka Dirka

      That’s easy homie, cause people like firemen! People don’t like cops!

  • DaPoPoMan

    I wonder if the fire service has ever thought about its staffing? You have an engine which is manned by a CAPTAIN or LIEUTENANT (The lieutenant may run the ladder truck though), an Engineer (drives it and runs the equipment) and then a firefighter-paramedic or two. So you have a CAPTAIN who runs 3 guys.

    Now the police department has a sergeant, usually as its first supervisor rank, who supervises usually at least 6 to 8 people. A sergeant earns less than a fire Captain, most likely less than a fire lieutenant. Then a police lieutenant commands a shift or sometimes a unit. Usually a police lieutenant is responsible for supervising 2 to 4 sergeants, who in turn supervise 4 to 8 people. So a police LT = 10 to 32 people supervised. Then when you get to police captain they command a large unit or in smaller departments a bureau or division. So a police captain can be responsible for anywhere from 50 to 300 people depending upon the department. It seems to me that the fire service is very, rank heavy and they could probably free up money by restructuring their “traditional” system or structure. Remember, just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean there are not better ways of doing it. I am not an expert, nor do I claim to be, regarding the fire service. This is based solely upon observation and much interaction with them.

  • San Jose Fire Positions Restored « CBS San Francisco

    […] the additional staff is fully trained, the department will no longer have to enforce the “flexible brown-out” plan, where two engines were forced out of service each […]

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