Projected city budget deficit could hit Danville Fire Department hard

New financial report suggests reducing fire stations, firefighters

DANVILLE, Va. – Danville Fire Department's fire station two on Piney Forest Road is one of seven fire stations in the city.

The five-year financial report presented to city council members Tuesday by the National Resource Network recommends closing one station.

According to the report, that would save the city $2.4 million between 2021 and 2023.

"Obviously, there'd be an analysis; the strategic locations, impacts to communities that would be involved (if a station were going to be closed)," Danville Assistant Fire Chief Steve Dishman said.

Dishman said that as of Thursday there is no one station that is more likely to be closed than any other if city council chooses to close a station.

Not surprisingly, residents 10 News spoke to Thursday are not in favor of reducing fire stations or firefighters.

"It concerns me. I don't think that should be an option," Jennie Watson said.

She suggested city leaders look at the River District to save money.

"I think it's beautiful, but if the city is putting money toward it, maybe they shouldn't put as much money and then leave the fire department alone," Watson explained.

The financial report points out that cities in the south that are about the same size as Danville have 1.6 firefighters per 1,000 residents.

According to the report, Danville needs 70 firefighters to meet that ratio but the city currently has 119, meaning 49 firefighters would have to go.

When asked if 70 firefighters is enough to handle all of the department's calls, Dishman said, "All I can say is, our resources are very busy."

When asked if the department would consider using volunteers if 70 full-time firefighters are not enough, he said he couldn't say yes or no, only that that would "have to be evaluated."

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