Chico’s Fire Chief has made a painful decision to cut staff at Station Three in response to massive budget cuts.
We’ve reported for a while that Station Three has been in jeopardy of closing. This plan keeps the station open but only to support flights at the Chico Municipal Airport.
All other services are suspended effective Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. and Engine 3 will no longer respond to emergencies in the area.
To make that happen, Chief Jim Beery announced staffing at the station will be cut from three firefighters a day to just one.
He says it will save the fire department $2,500 a day but will dramatically slow the response time for folks that live around the airport.
This plan was developed over the weekend and was discussed with City Manager Brian Nakamura on Monday morning.
Beery says this is the last thing the city needs, especially during fire season.
In fact, he says he would have preferred just shutting down the station altogether.
"I know what's best this isn't. What is best? Close the station because that is safer for my firefighters and safer for the community,” said Beery. “Are you going to have bad outcomes? Yes. But we are risk management organization. We are a stop loss. The city can’t afford to stop the loss. Then so be it but I have to keep my firefighters safe."
Beery also points out that cutting these two firefighters is still not enough to make ends meet. Beery says he will more than likely cut another firefighter shift but he says none of the other five stations can afford it.