West Side fire station to close Thursday, East Midlothian is next
The city today will close a West Side fire station through the end of the month and then shut down other stations every two weeks on a rotating basis to make up money the department needs to pay for overtime costs.
It’s a move that doesn’t please city council, the fire chief or the firefighters union.
The department has already spent about $81,700 of its budget of $108,000 for overtime this year and will hit the budgeted figure by mid-July, fire Chief Barry Finley said.
The issue, Finley said, is nine of the department’s 127 firefighters are off duty with injuries that occurred while on the job. That’s led to an increased need in overtime to make up the understaffing issue, he said.
The department needs about $60,000 to $65,000 to cover overtime for the rest of the year, he said.
Fire Station No. 15 on Schenley Avenue and McCollum Road will be the first to close and be shut down through June 30, Finley said.
For two weeks, starting July 1, Station No. 9 on East Midlothian Boulevard will be closed, followed by No. 3 on Belle Vista Avenue for two weeks, Finley said.
The city’s eight stations will eventually all be temporarily shut down for two weeks as part of this rotation, he said.
Read more about the situation in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.