SPOKANE, Wash. --Budget cuts forced the Spokane Fire Department to reduce staffing at a South Hill fire station.
Right now, rescue crews from Station 9 cannot enter burning buildings. A mayoral task force is recommending the first responding capabilities to Station 9 be restored.
Budget Cuts forced the fire department to cut the level of staffing at the station from a three person crew to two person rescue trucks. A two person crew is not enough firefighters to legally enter a burning building so trucks from other stations have to respond to fires on the South Hill.
Fire officials say the department has been able to meet its response time goal of 8 minutes and 30 seconds 90 percent of the time.
Spokane City Councilman Steve Salvatori applauds the response time but would like to see a three-engine company restored to Station 9. The fire department looks to apply for a federal grant that would pay for upwards of 12 new firefighters for two years. Several of those firefighters would go to Station 9 to restore its firefighting capability.
“We think by restoring service to Station 9, it brings the level of protection and insurance that citizens are willing to pay for and what they expect from their fire service,” said Salvatori.