The Long Beach Fire Department (CA) will take a Belmont Shore fire engine out of service next month to meet budget constraints.
Fire Chief Mike DuRee said the removal could increase response times by 10 by 30 seconds on the west end of the Station 8 district.
The LBFD has cut more than $10 million from its operations in the last five years, including four fire engines, a fire truck and an ambulance.
DuRee emphasized that removing a fifth engine to save another $2 million would not have been considered in a better fiscal environment.
“I don’t want to minimize that, but this is going to have the least impact on the system,” DuRee said.
Shuttering the engine will have a minimal effect on response times in the district’s southeast area, around Naples Island, Alamitos Bay and Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway, according to DuRee.
Station 8 won’t close under the plan announced Monday. A paramedic rescue ambulance will be relocated there from Station 14 near Colorado Lagoon.
The Department will also split the “Light Force,” a fire truck and fire engine temporarily operating at Station 14, by moving the fire truck to Station 17, by Stearns Park.
Fire officials had intended to remove a fire engine from service on Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year, under budget cuts approved by the council.
Rex Pritchard, president of Long Beach Firefighters Local 372, commended DuRee for an “efficient” reallocation of resources in a difficult situation.
However, he said the continuing budget cuts have had a dramatic impact on firefighters’ ability to provide public safety to citizens.
“Everyone just kind of understands there’s a lesser level of service with it,” Pritchard said.
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