SAPULPA, Okla. - Sapulpa's city council met last night to decide if it will layoff firefighters in an effort to balance the budget.
If councilors had not accepted the firefighters concessions, the Sapulpa Fire Department would have had four less men on the job, and one of its fire stations would have likely closed.
It was good news to the firefighters, last night, when they found out no layoffs will take place.
Just down the road from fire station 2, a house went up in flames in Sapulpa Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters arrived in minutes to put out the fire, and saved a woman trapped inside.
"They do everything. From grass fires to bad accidents on the highways. Everything. I see them out all the time in the community doing stuff at the schools, at the cross walks. They're definitely a major part of this community," said neighbor Andrew Wall.
Wall worries losing four firefighters and a fire station so close to his house will jeopardize public safety.
"Just one fire station? The next one's, I think, six miles the other way. That could be my house," he said.
The city of Sapulpa is trying to trim two million dollars from its budget. Four firefighters had already received layoff notices, but were able to dodge losing their job.
"I think they can't help but to be optimistic. Firemen by nature, we're kind of optimists anyway. We believe in each other, we believe in our town, the citizens of this town. And hopefully they'll apply the pressure to do what's right," said Assistant Fire Chief Danny Whitehouse before the vote.
The union gave the city a proposal with $501,000 in concessions. That amount is up from $389,000 just a month and a half ago. This time, the city accepted the proposal.
Even before the vote was finalized, firefighters pledged to continue to do their job to the best of their ability.
"We're still going to do it. If guys get laid off... we're still going to respond. But we're going to respond with less efficiency, and a higher probability of getting these guys hurt,'" Whitehouse said.
Now the fire department can stop focusing on the "what if's" and get back to work.
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