Fall River firefighter layoffs & engines shut down - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Fall River firefighter layoffs & engines shut down

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By Dana Griffin

dgriffin@abc6.com

@danaRgriffin

FALL RIVER, MA- 35 firefighter positions were originally on the chopping block in Fall River. Six senior firefighters chose to retire so that six younger men could keep their jobs.

Still, bittersweet because 29 are losing their jobs come July 11th.

Olga Scanlon lives in Fall River. She said, "It’s a troubling situation and unfortunately things couldn't be handled any differently than it is."

The fire department is funded by a federal grant that just expired.  Firefighters say they've known for a while the layoffs were coming and wish the city would have found the money to keep them employed.

Neighbors have been showing support over the last year with these "Keep Fall River Safe,” signs but they are saddened by the news.

"The city had a few years to resolve all of this you know, to come to a conclusion and really nothing was done so they found themselves in a bind. Now we lose some firemen so it is too bad," said Fall River resident, Everett Castro.

Firefighters respond to not only fires but medical and marine calls so if they're ever swamped with emergencies, response times could become longer for others in need.

Castro adds, "Well, less men, less safety obviously. With a lot of these big triple–decker houses and a lot of the old mill buildings you know. It's not only safety for the residents but safety for the firefighters."

As for engines three and 7– taken out of service today, they’ll only be seen out on the streets when a working engine is undergoing repairs.

On Friday, 175 firefighters will be left to man the city, a number that still meets national standards.

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