A rash of recent fires has North Las Vegas families living near now-closed fire stations nervous. One station has now been closed for six days as the firefighter union and city continue to argue over staffing and the budget.
Neighbors near Fire Station 54 said they're worried no one will respond if there's a fire. The station on Camino Al Norte was built in 1994 and normally houses one truck, a rescue vehicle and four firefighters.
Those are resources neighbors can't currently rely on.
"We are running really thin right now. We have lost a lot of personnel in the last year so it has been very difficult to do our job and, unfortunately, city management has decided to reduce the level of service that we are providing the citizens," said North Las Vegas Firefighters Association President Jeff Hurley.
The city of North Las Vegas has eight fire stations but has been operating with fewer. Thirty-two firefighters have been cut since last year.
"We have a massive amount of reduction in emergency vehicles responding to 911 calls. That is what's more alarming to us, the amount of personnel we have to respond to 911 calls," said Hurley.
The city has an overtime budget of $1.5 million for firefighters. They said this is enough to keep the city safe but won't be enough to prevent closures.
"If we have unanticipated leave, sick outs or other medical leave, it can affect not only the staffing apparatus but eventually get down to the staffing in stations," said City Manager Tim Hacker.
According to the firefighter union, the national standard for a city the size of North Las Vegas is about 230 firefighters. The city is currently staffed by just over 150.
"I'm concerned about the health of my family and welfare of my family and the local services we are paying our taxes into," said North Las Vegas resident David Burns.
There is no word on when each fire station will be operational again. In the meantime, fire officials recommend residents continue to call 911 in emergencies.
North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck will hold a meeting next week to update the community on the city's budget and its goals moving forward. That meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Aliante Station.
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