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L.A. plan would cut 18 fire companies, four ambulances

Firefighters take part in a drill in Century City.

A proposal to cut 18 fire companies and four ambulances from the Los Angeles Fire Department is to be considered Wednesday by a City Council committee amid opposition from leaders of the firefighters union.

The proposed cuts are contained in the $6.9-billion budget unveiled last week by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The cuts would save the city more than $53 million in the next fiscal year, and nearly $200 million over three years, according to Los Angeles Fire Chief Millage Peaks. They would also put an end to rotating staff reductions.

Every day, the Fire Department temporarily closes 22 fire companies and six ambulance teams in order to save money, Peaks said. The firefighters from the closed companies fill in for staff at other companies who are sick or on vacation, which cuts down on overtime.

The moves were instituted in 2009 after the department was dealt a $39-million budget reduction. They were meant as a "stop-gap," Peaks said, and not as a permanent solution.

He called the temporary closures "very disruptive." The department proposed the permanent closure of 18 fire companies and four ambulances at stations across the city in order to eliminate the temporary shutdowns and create "long-term structural change," according to a report sent to the mayor that details the redeployment of department resources.

Millage said the department determined which companies should go with the help of a computer program that measured which companies were most in demand. Under the proposal, no firefighters would be laid off, but firefighters from several threatened companies have protested the proposed closures.

At a news conference Tuesday at Fire Station 38 in Wilmington, City Councilwoman Janice Hahn said she would fight the proposed cuts. The station would lose a hook-and-ladder truck and a pumper truck under the proposed reductions.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hahn is to be joined by firefighters and leaders from United Firefighters of Los Angeles City at a news conference at City Hall, shortly before the council's Budget and Finance Committee takes up the mayor's budget.


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Photo: Firefighters take part in a drill in Century City. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (58)

There is a need for fireman and paramedics. But 100k a year fireman and paramedics? 200k a year with overtime? Come on. I also like how these "heroes" keep holding onto 9/11. Last time I checked 9/11 was 1 day. How many military personnel have been permanantly disabled or killed for a war that has lasted years... not 1 day. As far as I'm concerned the salaries need to be reversed. Pay our military (our true heroes) $100k a year and pay these firmean military wages. Sorry you greedy fireman, we're just not going to buy the "lives and property will be in danger" crap anymore. Guess you won't be buying the new Chevy Suburban, or the 2012 boat to tow behind it on one of your 15 to 20 days off a month. Yeah, we know who you are. Not too smart to show your "pride" in this economy with your $100k toys rolling down the freeway with your lame fire helmet sticker on the back window.

Statistics: Firefighting is not one of the most dangerous jobs, yet they use danger as a rationalization. Coal mining, farming, construction work are all WAY more dangerous. How many of those guys make $75k much less $250k with royal benefits?

It should be the law of supply and demand. Every time a firefighter jobs comes up 3000 people apply because they know as everyone knows its the gravy train at taxpayer expense.

How about reporting on WHICH fire depts? WHICH ambulances? Or go back to journalism school. Oh, wait. It's the LA Times. Non-city paper for idiots

Hmmm, have any of you who are griping about the FF sitting around watching movies really spent 24hours with a station (fyi this is call a ride a long and usually welcomed) I have been married to a FF for 27 years and on rare occasion in all those years he has come home with a full nights sleep. He works hard, trains all the time to be prepared for anything. Volunteer FF? Good luck with that; usually less trained and response time is longer. Yes, they remember 911 and honor those who with out thought went up into the towers. Would you? These mean wrote notes to their loved ones on the way to the tower knowing most likey they would not be returning home. Have you already forgotten all the wild fire here in California. What about the head on collision of a metro rail and train. Gruesome! Will you go in and extracate this victims while the train is burning. I could go on and on. But why bother it will go on deaf ears.

"9/11 - Never Forget".... Never mind... I guess you FORGOT!

Anyone who says firefighters are lazy has NO idea what the job is like. Fires and other emergencies are not scheduled. If you mow lawns, you can take a break when you get tired, grab a drink of water from the pickup whenever you want. If you work in an office you can stare out the window and relax for a few minutes or take a lap around the cube farm. There is nothing that compares to being dispatched to an emergency and immediately evaluating and responding. Then you put on the equivalent snow suit (heat-wise), plus ~50lbs of other tools and enter an unfamiliar building or house, that may or may not be a total mess, and its very hot, on fire, and you can't see your hand in front of your face because of the smoke. Not to mention the disgusting medical calls, gruesome cars accidents, and the HazMat calls. Step out from behind the counter at Starbucks and try it.

It's funny reading some of these post: Sounds like a bunch of idiots with nothing better to do than post bitter comments and Abuse the 911 system(if your critical...We cannot take treat you incorrectly!).. The Fire Dept. responds to 1500 (average 24 hour day) calls a day and the number keeps going up! Stop calling IF Firefighters treat you so bad and Drive YOUR OWN lazy butts to the Hospital. Then Firefighters will not be needed to "abuse You"!
I say get rid of all the firefighters and higher More Chief(they are the one's reporting all the false wages!) After all...they only make $200,000 and they get a 10% EMT bonus (They don't even touch ONE patient all year long!) and there Firefighter/Chauffeurs are the ones making over $200,000 with unlimited overtime.
The FIREFIGHERS that actually put out fires and put bandages on all you "Cry Babies" are the One's getting cut!
The REAL cure for all LOS ANGELES City's Problem is to merge with the County of Los Angeles then we can get RID of 1/2 the "High Priced" Chiefs Right from the Top... which means they can also get rid of their "Take home" fleet cars with their "free"Gas Cards!
Anyone with Half a brain knows that...All business's that are "top heavy" always go BANKRUPT!
Higher ALL minimum wage Firefighters and see what happens....I will be laughing my butt off to see Los Angeles City burn to the Ground or get sued every time a minimum wage firefighter Kills every "critical" patient they go on!

Hmm, cutting back on those cushy six-figure jobs where you work less than 10% of the time, fewer fat pensions that have to be paid by us private citizen/taxpayers, minimizing the overtime abuse that firefighters are notorious for. Happy days!

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