One city fire department’s safety called into question

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EDWARDSVILLE, Kan. -- There's big concern about safety in Edwardsville Friday night. Fire crews from neighboring cities say Edwardsville's fire department doesn't comply with safety standards. We met with members of the Local-64 International Association of Firefighters from KCK.

They say they've been responding to calls in Edwardsville, because the city's fire department is under-funded and poorly equipped. Currently the fire department is under the control of Edwardsville's police chief.

The Local-64 accuses the city of trying to dismantle the department and funnel fire department money into the police department. Crews say the biggest concern is response times. The men say it simply puts the community in danger when crews from neighboring cities have to be called in to help, in situations where every second counts.

"With regards to staffing, they don't come close to meeting the national standards that we all work towards meeting and have refused to sit down and discuss the staffing issues with the firefighters,” Bob Wing with Local-64 said.

Wing said that as of this week every truck at the station was declared in-operable. They've been told that Bonner Springs has loaned the city a truck, which we saw pull out of the firehouse Friday night.

Members of the Local-64 say the department is badly in need of an experienced fire chief and not a police chief doing double duty.

We reached out to city officials, but our calls were not returned. The union members plan to picket at a city hall meeting Monday night, where we hope to get the city's response.

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