Flint residents fear fire station near them could close
Wed, 25 Apr 2012 20:53:08 GMT —
Flint used to have ten fire stations.
Right now it has five, but only three are scheduled to remain in a city that sees an average of three to four fires a day.
That's more than some communities see in a month.
Residents at the corner of Western and Colorado in Flint's northeast side feel safer knowing Fire Station 5 is nearby, but by July two stations will be closed, possibly Station 5.
"You'll have a lot more fires. You'd have a lot more problems," says Gerald Hawkins who lives near the station. He says his street doesn't have burned out homes because the fire station is so close.
He fears that changing.
Neighbors feel the same way.
Burnice Gimerson says, "We need the fire department. I don't know why they're closing them down. They've closed enough as is."
The Flint firefighters union says in the last 22 months it's lost 22 firefighters that have not been replaced. Add to that 31-firefighter layoffs.
"They're really rolling the dice on the public's back right now," says president of Flint Firefighters Local 352 Trent Farnsworth.
Firefighters say they're concerned for the public's safety and their own.
"There's no doubt, there's a rise in injuries and fatalities with the lack of manpower and improper coverage with the stations throughout," says Farnsworth.
Neighbors fear they may be forced to do more.
"Go back to the old days. People call next door, 'Can we borrow the water hose? Can hook them together? We can put out the house fires,'" says Hawkins.
Firefighters say they're just providing basic services now, even before the layoffs and closures are supposed to take place.
Residents fear their insurance rates will go up.