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Fire Station Closed In Lawrence

Last updated on Sunday, October 14, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The city of Lawrence was forced to close down a fire station Friday, after several EMS employees called in sick just days before being laid off.

Kent Erdahl of Fox 59 reports, Station #40, located at 59th Street and Lee Road, was out of operation as firefighters were needed to cover for EMTs and paramedics at other stations.

Brandon Wilch is one of 24 EMS employees who received layoff notices from the city of Lawrence this week. The city made the cuts in order to make up for a $2 million shortfall in the budget.

Wilch said he didn't consider calling in sick on his last day.

But the EMT said he understands why five of his co-workers did call in.

Whatever the reason behind the sick days, Battalion Chief Dino Batalis said it certainly isn't common.

Batalis says Station #40 was selected because firefighters were needed to fill ambulance shifts in other areas and they can only stretch staffing so far.

Though the closure isn't permanent, Station #40 still won't be the same once the budget cuts take effect on Monday.

The fire house will still be open, it just won't have a fire engine in it, Batalis said.

According to Batalis, Station #40 will soon be staffed by just three firefighters who will primarily provide medical support with a fire safety vehicle and an ambulance.

Without a fire engine, Batalis said response times for fires in the area will be longer. They are waiting for another engine to arrive from another station.

In addition to the closure of Station #40, the Lawrence Fire Department also worked with one less crew at another station on Friday. That was also due to the staffing issue.

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