Reporting Marie Osborne
DETROIT (WWJ) – Chanting “Save our firehouse!” a small group of southwest Detroit residents gathered to protest the announced closure of Fire Engine House 33.
Community members say there has been a rash of fires recently and they will fight to keep this essential service.
“We would be devastated if this station were to close because we feel like they’re such a vital part of out community,” said Rolondo Burlez, who was one of about a dozen people who joined the march on Tuesday.
Burlez, a lifelong resident of the area, said the men and women who serve there are like family — most are known by their first names,” And they watch over all the neighbors, you know. They help the children. They’re a pillar of the community.”
One firefighter, who wouldn’t give his name, told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Marie Osborne he is worried about what would happen if they are shut down.
“I’m really concerned about the community, the children, the mothers, the grandfathers, the grandmother who depend on us. We’re a beacon of hope,” he said.
Community members say budget cuts should be made in other areas, not in public safety.
The fire cuts are part of the 2012-13 budget passed by Mayor Dave Bing, which eliminated 10 engines and four ladders from the Detroit Fire Department’s budget. It also slashes $75 million – or 18 percent – from the police department’s $414 million budget.