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.

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“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.

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“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.

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