ERIE, Pa. (AP) - About 100 firefighters packed the City Council
chambers to show support for the retired fire chief and protest
cuts to the force, something they said will endanger the lives of
city residents.
Mayor Rick Filippi said he is considering eliminating a company
or two from the department. The news comes after Fire Chief William
Hertel resigned after saying he was forced out by Filippi.
Lt. Fred Gillespie told lawmakers Wednesday night he was
speaking not only as a firefighter, but as a taxpayer worried about
his family. Gillespie said he worried about what would happen if
there were more cuts.
"Today, we don't have the capacity to respond to two fires at
once. ... I don't want the responsibility of going to their loved
ones and telling them they've made the ultimate sacrifice," Erie
Deputy Fire Chief Ed Morad said.
Tina Mengine, a spokeswoman for Filippi, said nobody wants to
cut jobs. But she said the city doesn't have the money to maintain
staffing.
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Information from: Erie Times-News, http://www.goerie.com

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)