LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The city of Louisville wants to close one fire station to help save money, which means longer response times could be on the way as Louisville deals with a budget crisis.
The fire station on Grade Lane, which is near the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport and UPS, is on the chopping block. Firefighters say if it closes, some people could have to wait an extra eight minutes for service.
Whether it's a medical call or a house fire, minutes mean everything to firefighters.
"We're talking about funeral arrangements. We're not talking about their survival. That's the reality," said firefighter Jeff Taylor, vice president of Louisville Professional Firefighters Local #345.
Taylor said closing one Louisville fire station would mean longer response times in some neighborhoods, which could be detrimental for neighbors and potentially for firefighters.
"We take an oath to protect this community. Protect and serve, that's what we do," Taylor said. "What we don't take an oath to do is commit suicide by walking into a fire building four minutes later that's going to, at some point, lead to the death of a firefighter."
Closing the fire station could save the city $1.7 million. It would force surrounding stations to pick up to an extra 1,000 calls for service.
"It's a challenge for us anytime we have to look at a closure," Louisville Fire Chief Gregory Frederick said.
Frederick answered Metro Councilmembers' questions at a budget committee meeting.
It's not clear yet if closing the station could hurt the department's ISO rating, which could hike insurance rates. Right now, the biggest concern is response times.
"I believe some of those (response times) are going to be significant, anywhere from the 6-8 minute range," Frederick said.
Although no one would lose their jobs, 15 positions would be relocated. Firefighters like Taylor worry about the community's loss.
"I can promise the politicians that are making these decisions: We'll hold them accountable," Taylor said.
If passed, proposed budget cuts could take effect as soon as July.
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