YONKERS - The controversy over changes to firefighter staffing is escalating in Yonkers as contract negotiations between the union and the city continue.
Mayor Mike Spano says that starting tomorrow, two Yonkers fire companies could close if too few firefighters report to work. The city is taking the step to save money and try to curb excessive overtime.
Officials say that Ladder Company 71 on New School Street and Engine 312 on Fortfield Avenue will close on an as needed basis. They say 54 firefighters will be scheduled city-wide every day. However, if anyone calls in sick they will not be replaced unless the number drops under 48.
City officials say safety is not in jeopardy even if the ladder companies close for a day. They say other trucks in the area will respond and about 20 firefighters will be there to do the job.
However, the plan concerns many senior citizens living in a nine-story apartment complex not far from Ladder 71. The residents are discussing drawing up a petition to keep the firehouse open
To watch an extended interview with the Yonkers deputy mayor, click on iO Extra on Channel 612.