Fire chief wants to close 2 Springfield fire stations; firefighters union disagrees

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Springfield Fire Department wants the city to close two fire houses to improve response times in areas of higher activity. The professional association representing firefighters opposes the proposal.

From news release from Springfield Fire Department:

The fire department recommends closures of fire station 6, on West Battlefield Road near Scenic Avenue, and fire station 12, on Blackman Road near Battlefield Road. It suggests fire station 6 have its staff and apparatus relocated to assist in covering west-central Springfield. The fire station 12 staff and equipment would help serve south-central Springfield..

The fire department conducted a staffing and deployment study to significantly improve its response time and meet areas of greater demand in the community.

“It is essential to use our resources as efficiently and effectively as we can," said Fire Chief David Hall. "Over the past several years, we have developed the data to be able to make data-driven informed decisions on station, apparatus, and personnel placement in a way we previously could not. When one looks at the data, it is hard to see how any other conclusion can be drawn.”

Several years ago, resources from the core of the city were redistributed to open each of the two stations with anticipation of annexation occurring in east and southwest Springfield. However, annexations have not occurred.

“My mother lives in Station 12’s district and my mother-in-law lives in Station 6’s district, each of which will be affected if those stations no longer house fire apparatus and personnel," said Chief Hall. "I would never put them at undue risk; however, I cannot in good conscience not put resources where they provide the greatest benefit to all citizens of the community. This moves resources to those citizens with the greatest risk and yet lacking the fire protection that is needed in their area.”

The department requests council input to determine the next step in the process. If the council does not have strong opposition to the move, the department will further evaluate the various options and make a final decision and how to deploy the resources.

End of Fire Department's news release

Statement from Eric Latimer, political director, Southern Missouri Professional Firefighters IAFF 152:

On 12-6-2016, Springfield Fire Chief David Hall proposed the closure of two stations to Springfield City Council. These closures would address a gap in service to a portion of the City by the reallocation of staffing and resources.

While Local 152 recognizes the need to address this issue, we do not feel that the closing of two fire stations is the best solution. Local 152 is confident that City Council and The Fire Chief will be able to come to a solution that best addresses the fire safety needs of all the citizens of Springfield, without the closure of existing fire stations.