Fire Station 15 Closure Will Increase Response Time
Under either of the mayor's budget plans, Station 15 is on the chopping block
ANCHORAGE - Certain South Anchorage neighborhoods will be waiting a bit longer for emergency crews to respond to their 911 calls as of next year.
That’s because under both versions of Mayor Dan Sullivan’s budget, Fire Station 15 will be closed January 1 - and this has some firefighters worried.
Fire Chief Chris Bushue says response times will increase to the area. His best estimate is five minutes on a good day.
This means the AFD’s target response time of 4 minutes, 90 percent of the time, won't be met in the Southport Drive area.
“A few seconds could mean the difference between life and death, or whether or not we are able to stop a fire, or whether it overtakes the whole house,” said Senior Captain Mike Ascone, of Station 15.
So far this year, Station 15 has responded to more than 430 calls.
“The next closest stations are 7 at Jewel Lake at 88th and station 9 at Huffman, so that would obviously leave a fairly large gap in between the two stations,” said Ascone.
Chief Bushue says budget restraints left him no option but to close Station 15, as well as a ladder truck in Eagle River.
“At the end of the day we had to make cuts somewhere; I'm just simply given a finite amount of money and it's my job to try and do the best I possibly can with the money that I have,” said Chief Bushue.
The firefighters union says response times could jump to 10 minutes in certain parts of South Anchorage.
“The number of homes that have been built out here, the new schools, the miles of paved road and everything this... whole area has grown and that's justifies having this fire station here for that infrastructure,” said Rod Harris, president of the Anchorage firefighters union.
It takes around $1 million a year to keep Station 15 open.
The assembly is reviewing the budget at its first meeting this Friday.