Budgets cuts force firefighters to show up to fires without water

Budgets cuts force firefighters to show up to fires without water

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by KGW reporter Kyle Iboshi

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 11:25 AM

PORTLAND -- Portland firefighters said they have been forced to show up to blazes with no water, due to budget cuts.

On Tuesday, a commercial fire broke out in a lumber yard in North Portland. When firefighters from Station 8 arrived on scene, they radioed to other emergency responders.

"Be advised, we are a truck company. We have no water source," said firefighters in a radio call obtained by KGW.

Fire crews had to wait for several minutes for engines from other stations to arrive. They eventually doused the flames.

"We're there to help people and if we can't help people effectively, that gets very frustrating," said Mike Wight of the Portland Firefighters' Association.

Starting this month, the city of Portland cut the Fire Bureau's budget. As a result, Fire Station 2 in Parkrose and Fire Station 8 in North Portland had their staffing cut in half. Now when a call comes in, fire crews at those stations only roll one ladder truck. The fire engine, with water supply stays at the station.

Portland Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman said because of a tight budget, they've got to make due.

"If you look at it from a systematic level, there are other apparatus nearby that can fill that void," said commissioner Saltzman.

The Fire Commissioner believes this situation will improve within a few months. The city is leasing new rapid response trucks that will carry both water and ladders. But in the meantime, some firefighters will continue to show up with no water.

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