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Fire Department Begins Cutting Services

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Photo by Gamma Infinity via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by Gamma Infinity via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Some fire companies were closed Sunday indefinitely, but a rotating set of closures scheduled for tomorrow will lessen the number of ambulances and rescue trucks on Los Angeles city streets tomorrow as a money saving move amid the city's budget crisis.

"[The cuts] put our lives at risk, and more importantly the public's lives at risk. [Villaraigosa's] pointing a gun at our heads and shots are going to hit the public. This is dangerous," said Pat McOsker, President of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles, to city council a couple weeks ago.

Former LAPD Chief and Councilman Bernard Parks sees it another way in the LA Times: “People die every day, even when they are fully deployed. We need to put that into context, and not use that as a scare tactic. We feel comfortable that the fire chief and his staff have proposed what we think is a reasonable plan."

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Even with the staffing cuts, the fire department needs to find an additional $13 million in savings. "We will do whatever is necessary to help the city get through the financial crisis we're in right now. All we ask is what we're asked to do be equal with the rest of the city's workforce," McOsker said, noting that firefighters were not being treated equal in the cuts (.pdf) when compared to other city employees.

A firefighter rally is scheduled for city hall tomorrow.