article courtesy of WNEM-TV5 News
The city of Saginaw is shutting down a fire station after announcing dozens of firefighters will be laid off.
City officials announced Fire Station 3 will close.
The announcement comes after FEMA refused to renew a $2 million grant for the city.
Earlier this week, the department announced it would be cutting staff from 51 firefighters to 38 come the new year.
“I’m pretty upset,” said Sheilanda Reynolds, resident.
Reynolds lives a few doors down from Fire Station 3 in Saginaw.
Fire Chief Christopher Van Loo said that station will close its doors Jan. 31.
Reynolds said it will be strange not hearing the sounds of sirens as firefighters make their way to a call.
“It’s going to be weird you know. I’ll have to get used to it,” Reynolds said.
It was no secret one of the four stations in the city would close.
“It’s not good for any fire station to close,” Mayor Dennis Browning said.
Browning believes the fire department is doing the best it can with the money it has.
“They know calls and they know responses. And I trust them when they say this is the best option,” Browning said.
Van Loo described how the department decided which station would close.
“So we looked at other things, you know, population density, running routes, what kind of assistance we get from neighboring fire departments. We spent months and months and months going through this process,” Van Loo said.
He admits response times in some parts of the city could be one to two minutes slower than they are now, but he wants residents to know his department is working hard to reduce that number.
“I think the way we’ve re-districted and reset our running zones, I think we’ll try to limit that the best we can,” Van Loo said.
As for Reynolds, she is holding out hope the station will reopen someday.
“I hate that they’re closing. They’re good neighbors. I wish there was something I could do about it,” Reynolds said.
Van Loo said he is looking to secure more federal funding in the future.