Thursday was one of those days for the SJFD that should make everybody wonder whether threatening to lay off firefighters makes any sense at all.
The first fire of the day began at 4:00 am at an asphalt production company near Interstate 280. Over $1 million in damage was caused by the flames, and the company’s production will be hindered by the fire.
An hour later, another call came, this one from a private home at 921 Rockdale Drive. The 47 firefighters that first arrived, but backup was soon needed. Then the third alarm came, just 20 minutes later. This fire was at 910 Del Monte Place, but with two fires still raging, it took ten minutes for the fire crews to respond. The normal target response time is less than eight minutes.
After dealing with the three morning fires before most people were even awake, fire crews spent much of the early afternoon tackling a 15-acre brush fire at Santa Teresa County Park, north of San Jose. Fire season is upon us, and Randy Sekany of the Firefighters Union warns that the problem with response times is “going to get worse and worse and worse,” because of cutbacks to staff and engines. The city says that firefighters will have to take a 9 percent cut to salaries and bonuses before 49 laid off firefighters are rehired. An advisory vote by the union is scheduled for today.
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