In an effort to save millions of dollars in its 2014 budget, Toronto is decommissioning pumper 215 — along with three other pumpers in Scarborough, Bloor West Village and Etobicoke — as of Monday.
“It’s a sad day for the citizens of Toronto,” Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association President Ed Kennedy said. “And it’s a day of concern. It’s going to mean slower response times for those communities, so it will impact safety.”
But the chair of the city’s budget committee says response times will be affected “negligibly” and there will be “just as many fire trucks available to fight fires.”
“The response time should just go up minimally, if at all,” Frank Di Giorgio said. “I really think the fire chief, who is responsible for managing all that kind of stuff, feels he has adequate resources to do the job.”
The Bloor West Village fire hall, Station 424, is slated to be closed entirely. And the 84 firefighters affected by the closure and decommissioning of the fire apparatus will be relocated, most into positions vacated by the 70 firefighters who retired in the first three months of 2014, Kennedy explained.
The union boss, who is among those being reassigned from the Scarborough fire halls to Station 235 on Bermondsey Rd., said a class of about 40 new recruits that was planned to start in January was also scrapped.
Kennedy said he believes Torontonians would be fired up about the fire service cuts but most are unaware, which is why the TPFFA has been on a mission to “educate” people.
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