A plan to cut a fire company in New Haven is getting a lot of heat from the union.
The city says the move to replace an engine with a paramedic unit would free up firefighters to respond to more pressing calls, but firefighters said it would put the public at risk.
The union held a rally on Monday afternoon at Engine Number 9, giving neighbors a chance to stop in, say hello, and ask questions about a proposal that the firefighters claim is downright dangerous.
The New Haven fire union is protesting a plan that proposes cutting Squad 2 by removing Engine 9, and putting a new paramedic unit in its place.
"You don't send two people to do the job of six. If you're having a heart attack on the second or third floor of your home, you can't expect two people to give you care, and carry you down the stairs. It just doesn't work and it's unsafe,” said New Haven Fire Union President Frank Ricci.
Neighbors said they like knowing Engine 9 is right across the street.
"My cousin was on the ground yesterday bleeding, they were the first over here, so obviously I’m going to be here to support them, help out,” said Jason Henry .
Mike Carter, New Haven’s chief administrative officer, said this is a plan the city has been working on for two years.
"It’s a very fluid plan and we are not eliminating fire engines, we are responding to the data and the trends that are prevalent,” Carter said.
The union argues any cut or relocation of the engine would be foolish, citing Engine 9 played a role in the quick knock down of a Spring Street fire just last week.
The city says the union is fanning the flames and preying on the public's fear.
"We’re not taking a fire truck out of service, we're not closing firehouses, and we’re not laying off firefighters. The union has a right to protest, they do not have a right to mislead the public,” Carter said.
"If this proposal goes through, it will place public safety at risk,” Ricci said.
The city said it would take into account some input from the city's next fire chief...but says it is moving forward with the plan.
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