Budget cuts may force Baker to close a fire station

BAKER, LA (WAFB) - Budget cuts for the Baker Fire Department could mean the loss of a station and a lower rating.

The city of takes pride in its fire department, but budget cuts have first responders in trouble.

Baker Fire Chief Danny Edwards said cuts are putting a strain on the day-to-day operations. He expects his second fire station, which is located on Lavey Lane, to close in November. The closure would leave only one fire station left in the city.

"You know that time is of the essence," said Edwards. "And, you have a heart attack and whereas, we can be at your house in a minute-and-a-half, now it's going to take three to five minutes or more. You'd be worried."

The other issue is dropping back in ratings. Edwards said the opening of the second fire station boosted the department to a Class 2 status. He said closing it hurts everybody.

"We could possibly lose the Class 2 rating and by losing that, it is going to increase your homeowner's insurance, probably $45 a year more," Edwards explained.

Councilwoman Joyce Burgess said you never want to compromise safety even with a dwindling budget.

"People are depending upon us to see where we can cut waste," Burgess said. "Public service is huge. It is not a waste. It is a good thing."

A public meeting was held at 6 p.m. at the Baker City Hall.

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