HAMILTON, Ohio - Cuts at the Hamilton Fire Department go into effect Wednesday.
Deputy Chief Jeff Shaw said he isn't ready for the fire department to ring in the new year with two fewer fire trucks to use on a daily basis.
"The potential is for remaining units to take longer to arrive on the scene," Shaw said.
The cuts leave five fire trucks and three EMS squads to serve the city of Hamilton every day.
"It will take double the time and somebody's life is at risk," Hamilton resident Meghan Dalton said. "That's horrible."
Shaw said the city of Hamilton needed to make these cuts to help balance the budget. However, he's not so sure this method will work. In addition to Engine 22 being out of service at headquarters, another truck at the Schuler Avenue fire station may or may not be taken out of service.
"If I have the staffing when I leave today and I make the lineup for the next shift, and the next shift comes around and someone has [the] flu, I need to adjust the lineup," Shaw said.
If a fire happens near the Schuler fire station when it's no longer operating, response time is a matter of who is available next.
"If the next closest engine is already on a scene and can't make a response to that one, then they have to wait for next one in line," Shaw said.
"I've been through an incident where I've had to call 911 before and response time for the person at risk feels like forever, so taking away two fire trucks is going to make it worse," Middletown resident Chelsea Schaaf said.
Eighteen firefighters could also be without a job come May. They are under a grant which expires then. Shaw said their union is in negotiations with the city so those men don't end up without a job.
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