15 Detroit Fire companies closing, nearly 200 demotions - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

15 Detroit Fire companies closing, nearly 200 demotions

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Dan McNamara with the Detroit Firefighters Association comments on the city's plan.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Dan McNamara with the Detroit Firefighters Association comments on the city's plan. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Just when he thought it couldn't get any worse, "the city has essentially said I think everybody better make sure they have their own garden hose," said union president Dan McNamara.

He is disgusted with the city's plan to reorganize the Detroit Fire Department, cutting it to the bare bones.  Engine Company No. 5, located in the Cass Corridor, is one of the fire stations now shutting down.

"The citizens of the city are going to suffer because they can say what they want, they cannot justify these closings."

Here are the numbers.  A total of 15 companies will close -- Engines 5, 8, 20, 21, 23, 31, 33, 38, 42 and 47, Ladder 1, 10, 16, 24 and TAC 2.  Nearly 200 demotions from battalion chiefs to fire truck drivers on top of the 156 layoffs.

It's part of a shell game that the union claims will leave the oldest firefighters fighting the toughest flames trying to save your house and life.

"Out of a thousand people, we have 18 people under the age of 30, so you're going to have old people like me riding the back ends, 50-year-olds on the back ends of fire trucks, and less fire trucks taking longer to get there, so guess who suffers," McNamara said.

Normally three fire engines show up at your average fire.  Now only two rigs, which means manpower will go down by four fewer firefighters at each scene, and don't expect them to be compensated for their long hours.  Starting this fiscal year, no more overtime.

"They can say all they want, but you know what this is?  This has been planned, and I don't know who's doing what, but somebody's taking over control of the city.  In the meantime, they're sacrificing public safety," said McNamara.

McNamara says the union is in the process of suing the city because the city negotiated in bad faith.

The city is responding saying these cuts are going to happen, but 108 of the 156 firefighters being laid off will get their jobs back, they claim, through a SAFER grant and the rest they're hoping will be able to get their jobs back through attrition.  However, firefighters say they're worried because right now they're short 300 firefighters.

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