169 Cincinnati firefighters facing layoffs

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati firefighters are not happy about $11 million in proposed cuts and the gaps they said it will leave in critical areas.

"There's going to be gaps no matter how you look at it," said President of the Firefighter Union Local #48 Marc Monahan. "Clifton house closes, one of the Corryville companies is cut, and Avondale is cut, so what's left surrounding the hospital?"

They are the grim numbers nobody wanted to hear, but as of Wednesday night, Cincinnati firefighters have a better idea of which companies could be shut-down in the new year.

The firefighters union said response times and their ability to keep you safe will be compromised.

Cutting out more than a dozen fire companies will double and in some cases triple response times, Monahan told FOX19.

"If they're out of their area to start with," he said. "The response time could go through the window."

Case in point: Engine #5 in Over-The-Rhine. The city spent nearly half a million dollars renovating that station, which is now on the block to be shuttered.

So is Engine #29 in the West End.

"So, if you close two houses in that area," Monahan said. "There's not a whole lot of companies left to pick-up the slack."

Was it money wasted? At the busy intersection of Liberty and Linn Streets, nearly 800-thousand dollars was sunk into fixing-up station #29.

"We need them in every neighborhood," he said. "So, to try guessing which ones to get rid of, it's kind of saying, well, how long do you think you can get rid of your homeowners insurance? You never know when you're going to need it, so that's why we have it all the time."

Ladder #19, on the Short Vine in Corryville is on the "short list, so to speak, browned-out of service Wednesday and could be idled for good.

It's the 7-story ladder truck that's best for fighting dorm fires. UC and area hospitals would all be affected.

"If we truly close anywhere between 11 and 16 fire companies," Monahan said. "That's over a third of the fire companies. you're going to be seeing fire trucks with 15-20 minute response times."

There is talk of adding a nurse in the 911 call center. Monahan says they make 50,000 medical runs a year.

"We welcome any idea that would get some of the frivolous EMS runs out of the system," he said. "Whoever can figure that out, they're going to be a millionaire because they can sell this across the country."

Monahan said every city is facing this situation right now, but no one wants the liability that goes along with it.

"I've been dispatched on medical runs because somebody fell down," he explained. "When we got there, the reason they fell down is they had a cardiac arrest, so if the response would have been delayed 3 or 4 minutes to talk to the nurse, everything else, that person would have been dead for sure."

There is nothing set in stone yet. City leaders still have a lot of numbers to crunch. But as of right now, the union says as many as 169 firefighters could be starting the new year without a job.

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