The city of North Las Vegas said two of its fire stations were "browned out" Monday, meaning there were no firefighters working there. City officials said some employees may return to work at the stations a few days a month, but it all depends on staffing levels.
City Manager Timothy Hacker said Monday's shortages were caused by too many firefighters calling out sick.
"Our firefighters, and the men and women that fill those roles, are dedicated to their jobs and they're going to continue to show up. I truly hope this was just an anomaly," Hacker said.
However, Local 1607 President Jeff Hurley told FOX5 that only five firefighters called in sick Monday, two of whom are on workman's compensation.
Hurley claimed the closures were a result of the city cracking down on overtime pay and staffing cuts over the years.
Meanwhile, neighbors to both stations questioned why those stations were unmanned.
"If something happens, it will take longer than it's supposed to," said Marco Garcia, who lives by Station 54, near Camino Al Norte and Ann Road.
Many who spoke with FOX5 are frustrated the political showdown between the union and city is putting their houses at risk.
"Fire, police, hospitals - that should be a basic human right, and why no one should be here and be able to do that is just to me inexcusable," said Andrew Patrick, who lives by Station 56, near Aliante Parkway and Elkhorn Road.
Hacker said that even with the new budget concessions that the city adopted July 1, no firefighters have been laid off.
"Same level of staff - I can't say that enough. Same level of staff on July 1, as far as fire suppression, that we had on June 30," Hacker said.
If a fire were to start in a neighborhood surrounding one of the unmanned stations, the city said crews will still respond. Most medical calls will now be handled by private ambulances.
The city said Station 54 was shut down because it has the most overlap with nearby stations and that Station 56 was picked because it typically has the lowest volume of emergency calls.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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