Cities all around the commonwealth and the country are dealing budget cut issues. Budgets are tight, but firefighting is dangerous, and cuts can increase that danger.
They're the first line of defense when there is a fire in the city. But recently, the Lancaster Bureau of Fire has seen significant budget cuts. In the 1980s there were 119 firemen. Today, that number is in the 60s. Up until a few years ago, there were four fire stations and five full-time pieces of apparatus, now there's three of each.
During the early morning hours of February 18, a massive fire tore through a home on the 200 block of E. Madison Street in Lancaster. Two people died and three firemen were hurt.
Could budget cuts be to blame?
The president of the local fire union, Lt. Kevin Ressler, gave us this statement. "I'm not going to directly relate anything to that fire. But in general, we are always looking for more staff. Like all city budgets they are tight, we have to look at raising revenue. Everything is on the table."
Ressler said the city and the union are discussing the budget to learn from what happened last month and improve. "It really comes out to what the public is willing spend. There is only a finite amount of money and we have to figure out where to put it. We are going to do our best no matter the circumstance."
Mayor Rick Gray was not available for comment.