Cathedral City Fire Station Temporarily Closes Due to Budget
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CATHEDRAL CITY - One Cathedral City fire station is temporarily closed because of budget cuts.
This comes just after the city laid off police and firefighters to balance the budget.
If you live in Cathedral City, it could take firefighters and paramedics longer to get to your house because of station closures.
The station on Landau Boulevard closed this weekend, it's expected to re-open Tuesday, but this may only be the first closure of the summer.
No fire engines or ambulances are leaving the Landau fire station in Cathedral City.
And for nearby residents, that's cause for alarm.
"Yeah, I'm concerned, it just means the response time will be longer and things like that," said Cathedral City resident, Jim Mikulich.
Jim says those extra minutes can make all the difference.
"This is really the most inconvenient time to lose that fire station, because during the summertime, you just have more emergencies, we have fires going around here and everything else, so it's like, who is going to cover all this," said Mikulich.
The first call the fire department got after that station temporarily closed was for that area.
"It did result in a slight delayed response, but when the paramedics got there they took care of the patient and there were no problems," said interim Fire Chief, Robert Van Nortrick.
The city cut six vacant positions, and laid off four firefighters.
Now staffing levels are down to 1988 levels according to fire officials.
"We are doing roughly the same amount of calls, the same amount of training, other non-emergency functions with reduction in staff," said Van Nortrick.
They respond to about 4,700 calls a year, and with people sick, hurt or on vacation, these temporary closures could continue to the fall.
"Summertime when we have some people off on vacation, again some people that are off on injuries occurred from on the job, until they come back to work, we anticipate that the rolling brown-outs will continue," said Van Nortrick.
Some residents say the city should have found ways to avoid cutting police and fire.
"They should have gone around, house to house and asked people if they'd want to donate 30 extra dollars a year or whatever it would take. I know quite a few of them are no longer going to be working anymore, some of them going to Desert Hot Springs but, I just think it would be a good idea to keep them all on hand here, I felt we were understaffed with the number of people we had from the beginning," said Cathedral City resident, Gary Scully.
There are just three fires stations in Cathedral City.
The Cathedral City Fire Department says they will let residents know what fire stations are closed on their website, and with signs in front of the stations.