Tough times for Fresno's Firefighters

FRESNO, Calif.

"It takes about a third of the department to respond to one single family residence."

This blaze actually required 22 firefighters, out of a total force of 65. In addition to the fires there were more than one hundred medical and other emergency calls. Stretching the department thin.

"With the cuts that we've had and the number of companies, we've had six companies taken out of service in the last three years, that's 18 people on duty each and every day, so the workload is the same we've just doing it with less people." Arnaz said.

Some of those people were honored at City Hall on Wednesday, for going above and beyond in fighting fires, responding to traffic accidents and rescuing citizens from waterways and other dangerous situations.

At the same time the department's employees have voluntarily taken substantial pay cuts to help balance the city's budget. Recognizing those sacrifices the city is trying to avoid further cuts to the department. A proposal to close some fire stations will not be on the table in the next round of budget cutting proposals being put before the City Council on Thursday.

"We've tried to avoid fire station cuts and tomorrow we're not planning on talking on fire station cuts as one of the options."

But the budget future remains uncertain for a department already doing more with less.

The fire department is operating with 18 fewer firefighters and 6 fewer trucks as the result of nearly two million dollars in budget cuts over the past two years.

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