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Linton Fire Department May Lose Firefighter Due To Budge Cuts

Last updated on Saturday, October 12, 2013

(LINTON) - The Linton Fire Department learned that due to budget cuts, they may also be losing a member of their department.

Sabrina Westfall of the Greene County Daily World reports that the news came not long after the Linton Police Department began rallying support from the community after learning two officers could be laid off due to the budget cuts.

Eric Carpenter, who serves as president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local No. 3087, says the fire department learned on Oct. 2 from Mayor John Wilkes the fire department could be subject to the budget cuts.

If an alternative is not found, based on seniority, fireman Ross Gentry would be the one facing a layoff. The layoff could happen as soon as November.

Gentry has been employed with the fire department since April of 2012. Before joining the department, he participated in an internship at the department during his senior year of high school.

Linton Mayor John Wilkes explained previously the city is facing a deficit in the Civil City budget, which encompasses the fire department, police department, mayor's budget, cemeteries and parks.

There will be a Linton City Council meeting on , in Monday which they are encouraging the community to show their support for not only the fire department, but for public safety in general.

Carpenter noted the department will be meeting with the president of the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana, Tom Hanify.

There have also been discussions with the Township Trustee.

Carpenter added the fire department has not made any major purchases with their budget recently, and have relied on grants for any equipment needed.

The cut of a firefighter will be detrimental to the nine-member department, Carpenter explained, especially due to two members of the department being off work on workman's compensation.

Fire Chief Brad Sparks said he anticipates the cut will create more overtime, which will cost more than cutting a member of the department in the long run.

Sparks added a lot of people in the community think they are just "sitting up on the bench waiting" for a call, but the department does more than just fight fires in Linton.

The LFD covers the entire Stockton Township, which is the largest township in the county, Sparks explained.

In addition to normal firemen duties, they also run the EMS and assist other local departments, more than 1,000 a year.

Carpenter explained the department has a mutual aid with other local fire departments. All of which are volunteer. The Linton Fire Department is the only paid department in the county.

He explained due to Linton always having someone on station, it is beneficial to assist other departments when volunteers cannot make it to a scene. This mutual aid agreement allows other departments to assist with manpower and equipment.

As the community rallies for support, the department hopes there is something they can find to do to protect the city's safety and keep the emergency personnel on hand.

Carpenter noted due to the short notice of the potential lay off, the fire department has not been able to work with the Fraternal Order of Police as they rallied for support as well.

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