Budget cuts to leave 2 Tacoma fire stations without fire engines

TACOMA, Wash. -- Barring an 11th-hour save from budget cuts, two of the city's fire stations will soon be without fire engines, and one of the stations will operate only during daytime hours.

Station 13 has become a local landmark. It is even on the historic register.

But starting 7 a.m. Tuesday, it will only be staffed by two firefighters who, in lieu of Engine 13, will only have a pickup truck. The truck, Squad 13, will respond to rescue calls. But it has no water, no hoses -- no ability to suppress a fire.

Station 13 will only be staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- a move the firefighters' union calls dangerous.

"You definitely have a potential for higher life or limb risk," said Tacoma Fire Union President Ryan Mudie. "When it comes to property fires -- more damage."

Without firefighting equipment, Squad 13 can only respond to a fire and wait for a full engine to arrive before battling the blaze.

Across town, Station 15 is facing a similar fate.

Engine 15 will be out of commission as of 7 a.m. Tuesday even though it responded to two suspicious fires just today, according to the union.

"Here at 15th, they had two arson fires," said Mudie.

One difference is that Station 15 will be staffed with two firefighters around the clock.

The cutbacks may only be temporary as the city and its firefighters remain in talks. The two sides plan to meet again Tuesday.

Despite the cutbacks, with two dozen firefighters retiring, no new firefighters lost their jobs.