Extinguishing the Brownout Plan?

The San Diego City Council is taking action to change a cost-cutting plan that they say puts lives at risk.

The so-called "Brown-out" plan allows as many as eight fire engines to be removed from service every day.

The plan went into effect in February. Now some city council members say money will have to be saved somewhere else.

The issue was highlighted in Golden Hill on March 19 when sirens screamed through the neighborhood. A 78-year-old man was found dead in his apartment after crews put out the fire.

Normally, a fire engine would have arrived from a station three blocks away, but on that day the engine was out of service.

On Wednesday, San Diego City Council members voted to restore funding for the fire engines.

“We really are rolling the dice on personal safety and we don’t want to continue to do that,” Councilmember Todd Gloria said.
Mayor Jerry Sanders has the final say.

“This is sending a message that this is our priority to let them know that this committee wants to find a solution to the problem and perhaps we can sit down and find some solutions in time for November. Put something on the ballot maybe?” Councilmember Marti Emerald said.

The head of the city's firefighters union says something needs to be done now -- that the safety of firefighters and San Diego's citizens are at risk.

“It’s about kicking the can down the road and not wanting to address and I appreciate the council members that are stepping forward and are saying enough is enough,” said Capt. Frank De Clercq.

The city council will be discussing the issue again at their next meeting. Meanwhile, the city is commissioning it's own fire study, looking at the locations of all the fire stations and their response times.

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