Some D.C. fire stations closed periodically - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Some D.C. fire stations closed periodically

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Some DC residents who need help may not be able to call the fire station closest to their home to respond.

The firefighters Union is accusing Department Leaders of shutting down certain stations for a day at a time to save on overtime.

"Today we have five units out of service," Dabney Hudson, 2nd VP of D.C. Firefighters Association Local 36.

Hudson says Department leaders are playing a deadly game of firehouse roulette by pulling units off the street to save on overtime.

"If you're have an emergency and there's no one at the nearest station, someone further away will be dispatched and that definitely increases the response and increases the likelihood of injury or a serious fire to occur," Hudson says.

The fire department's Director of Communications Lon Walls is denying claims that units are being pulled to save money.

"There are no rolling brownouts--or station shutdowns. Units are off the street for various reasons like maintenance and vacation coverage. The public needs to know the city has full and complete coverage," Walls says.

Meg Staines sure hopes so. She remembers the devastating apartment fire on Adams Mill Road a few years back which is blocks from her house..

One of the engines from the Lanier Place station that responded was off the street Saturday night.

"I love my local fire station, they are busy all the time.. It just seems like there are more frivolous things to cut than that," Staines says.

Hudson says the department wouldn't have to worry about overtime, if they hired some people.

He claims they haven't added a single new body since Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe came on board in January of 2011.

No word from the Chief's office on any upcoming hires.

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