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L.A. fire chief says budget cuts will mean longer response times

July 23, 2009 |  6:14 am

Los Angeles' budget crisis is likely to mean it will take longer for firefighters to respond to calls for help.

Faced with $56 million in budget cuts, the Los Angeles Fire Department plans to enact rolling brownouts that temporarily take fire engines out of service at stations across the city.

Chief Douglas Barry said today that no stations will be closed or paramedic-ambulances taken out of service, but he acknowledged that fire response times will be longer, which could put lives at risk.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is asking the City Council to shift $13 million from city reserve funds to the Fire Department to reduce the need for taking units out of service. 

Officials from the city firefighters unions say the cuts are unthinkable and will certainly cost lives.

-- Phil Willon