Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is looking to cut dozens of firefighter positions as part of his new budget.
Firefighters Could Be Cut In Budget Crunch
The head of the firefighters union said that in the past five years, budget cuts have claimed more than 100 firefighter positions. The union also said with fewer people on the front lines, fire related injuries and property damage is up. If new proposed cuts go forward, the union said things will only get worse.
When a fire breaks out in the city of Milwaukee, firefighters rush to the scene. However, the head of the firefighters?? union said that because of proposed budget cuts they may soon be arriving in smaller numbers.
"These kinds of reductions are going to impact our ability to give the level of service and safety to our members," Bobbie Webber of the Milwaukee Firefighters Union said.
Mayor Barrett's budget is looking to cut firefighters on ladder trucks from five to four. Firefighters said in the past, similar cuts created safety problems.
Firefighters said the only reason they were able to save four children from a burning house last summer is because they had five people on the truck.
"When you take one body off that ladder company we eliminate the ability effect that rescue immediately," Webber said.
Mayor Barrett said they are doing everything they can to keep the cuts to a minimum but he points out that most other major cities, including New York only carry four firefighters per ladder truck.
"We still send 24 to 30 firefighters to a 1 alarm blaze so we feel we are doing what is responsible in terms of providing the correct level of firefighter protection," Barrett said.
The mayor's budget also calls for closing at least one engine company and possibly two.
The Milwaukee City Council will soon have their say. They are expected to get the mayor's budget Wednesday and in the past they have restored some of the cuts to the fire department.
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