U. City firefighters: Eliminating jobs from fire dept. bad for p - KMOV.com

U. City firefighters: Eliminating jobs from fire dept. bad for public safety

Posted: Updated:
University City Fire Department House #1 (Credit: KMOV) University City Fire Department House #1 (Credit: KMOV)

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) - University City officials will eliminate five vacant positions from its fire department, according to City Manager Lehman Walker.

The decision comes after months of understaffing complaints from the union that represents University City firefighters.

In June 2015, News 4 discovered the city was operating against its own policy to staff its department with at least 45 firefighters – leading to long hours and forcing crews to leave trucks behind.

“There's no reason to have 45 firefighters if you're not providing ambulance services,” argued City Manager Lehman Walker.

The city claims its fire department staffing has in fact, improved – since 12 of those positions have shifted to ambulance service, which was outsourced to a private company in 2015.

“Since we've outsourced ambulance services, we've been able to put additional firefighters on the fire trucks so that now our fire trucks have four people on them,” said Walker.

But the firefighters’ union maintains it's understaffed, and it could affect public safety.

District Vice President Kurt Becker sent this statement to News 4, saying in part:

“These additional staffing cuts are dangerous.  They jeopardize the community, and they put our members at extreme risk."

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Watch News 4 Now

Mouse over player for controls · LAUNCH FULL PLAYER

Powered by Frankly