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El Mirage firefighters blame city officials for leaving residents under protected

El Mirage fire department blamed city officials
El Mirage Fire Department guarantees the City two responding units in the event of emergency, when fully operational

El Mirage Firefighters claims layoffs directly impacts the safety of residents.

After failing to apply for a tax reimbursement that could have provided the city of El Mirage with nearly $50,000, officials including City Manager, BJ Cornwall ignored calls for negotiation and elected to lay off five firefighters; El Mirage Firefighters claims layoffs directly impacts the safety of residents. When fully operational, the El Mirage Fire Department guarantees the City two responding units in the event of emergency. With the personnel cuts, only one responding unit can be guaranteed directly effecting emergency response times and leaving residents at risk.

"City Manager Cornwall's personal objective seems to be the dismantling of the El Mirage Fire Department, and as a result, put the people of El Mirage in danger," said Julie Moore, president of Northwest Valley Firefighters Association Local 4361. "The staffing cuts he has made are not only needless, but also put El Mirage in further debt and possibly at risk. The move is counter-productive to say the least."

The salaries of five fighters let go by the city on Aug. 6 were paid by a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency and Response (SAFER) grant. SAFER Grants were created by FEMA to provide funding direct to fire departments in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their community. As a result of the decision to lay off these firefighters the City of El Mirage will have to reimburse FEMA more than $90,000.

"Cornwall's poor decisions and personal vendettas have put El Mirage's budget in crisis," added Moore. "It isn't too late for members of City Council to do the right thing by reinstating the firefighters and ultimately saving El Mirage a lot of money."

The El Mirage Fire Department consists of 18 uniform personnel who staff the station 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Three captains, six engineers and nine firefighters operate each shift and serve in a variety of emergency situations including medical, physical entrapments, fires and hazardous materials.

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