Budget cuts leaves Merced Fire station understaffed

FRESNO, Calif.

The department will now have "brown-out" days at Station 51 on 16th Street near G Street.

A "brown out" is when one three-person fire engine company is left un-staffed for up to a full shift. The daily decision is based on whether two or more firefighters would have to be called in on overtime to fill in.

Wednesday was one of those days. The fire chief said his department may have to rely more on mutual aid from other agencies as a result.

"The safety of our citizens in this community, our levels of service in this community, and the safety of our responders and personnel are paramount. We're not going to compromise in that regard," said Merced City Fire Chief Michael McLaughlin.

Fire Station 51 has two companies, and only one will be affected by the temporary brown-outs.

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