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Video: East St. Louis Fire Dept. showcases budget cut challenges

The department is hoping this video will bring attention to the troubles they and firefighters around the nation are facing

By FireRescue1 Staff

Editor's note: For more insight on how videos like these effect the fire service, read Chief Adam K. Thiel's analysis

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Statter911 points us to this video detailing the challenges the East St. Louis Fire Department is facing.

The video shows deserted firehouses and helmet cam footage of crews battling blazes.

According to the video description, the East St. Louis Fire Department responds to the highest percentage of fires in the St. Louis metro east, but the number of firefighters has dropped from 150 to 53 due to budget cuts.

By May 2013, 22 more firefighters may be laid off.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
John Slayton John Slayton Tuesday, March 12, 2013 2:03:33 PM Sad!
Brad Harm Brad Harm Tuesday, March 12, 2013 2:16:19 PM Something to think about.
Trevor Blackwell Trevor Blackwell Tuesday, March 12, 2013 2:23:23 PM This is awful and shouldn't be happening. Those cuts aren't just cutting jobs. They're putting a whole city in severe danger.
Twyla White-Liscotti Twyla White-Liscotti Tuesday, March 12, 2013 2:46:43 PM I don't mean to sound disrespectful, but that looks like it was staged, 1. they don't leave fire fighting trucks just sitting collecting rust, when they left, that place would have been spotless! and by the looks of the structure,, it's been abandoned for a long time. this didn't just happen, I would say that building is probaly unsafe., bunker gear would not have been left on the floor (boots and pants, and shirt in closet) I'm a former firefighter. and while I hate to see any station closed,, this looks like obummer propaganda again.
Myles Collins Myles Collins Tuesday, March 12, 2013 2:54:30 PM My new favorite fire video of all time! Super well done, and eye opening. I think the ESL City Board needs to watch this. Might make them think a bit. Looks like ESL is the Detroit of the lower midwest! Stay safe brothers!
Jeff Boyd Jeff Boyd Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:18:35 PM East St. louis has NO tax base,, been there, it is one BIG HOOD. The whole city is a SLUM.
Michael A. Lewis Michael A. Lewis Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:28:26 PM If cities can't afford a full staff of firefighters why don't they supplement it with volunteers. It had beendone for decades and still is. They do cost less. Their are people out their with years of experience as a volunteer who can do the same job. A lot of people like myself want to be paid firefighters and have been volunteers for years that just can't afford the academy. Their are also people out their that can't find jobs as a firefighter after they have been through the academy that would love to volunteer and keep their skills up. Its sad that people are losing their jobs and the citizens don't have great protection. But those cities won't get my sympathy until they have supplemented they paid guys with volunteers.
Saintandre Lawncare Saintandre Lawncare Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:38:21 PM i agree about the volunteers. i am a career fireman who works at a combination dept. our dept is facing budget cuts and our powers to be think that cutting jobs is the answer. the problem with volunteers is that volunteers dont get paid. therefor, they have jobs and cant be on call 24/7. during the day, our volunteer number s are close to zero. cant fault them, they have to support their families. the big wigs need to ask the question, whats my life or my families life worth? can you put a price on that? why cut something where the sole purpose is too save life and property?
Twyla White-Liscotti Twyla White-Liscotti Tuesday, March 12, 2013 4:18:56 PM Michael A Lewis, that is a great idea..
Tina Carr White Tina Carr White Tuesday, March 12, 2013 5:41:58 PM That particular station has been shut down since 1988.
Twyla White-Liscotti Twyla White-Liscotti Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:17:59 PM thank you Tina
Shane Cockrum Shane Cockrum Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:18:41 PM trust me, nothing was staged. When cities decide to stop funding, thats what happens, exact same situation happens in our area
Jim Carley Jim Carley Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:45:00 PM id be like fuck the city let it burn to the ground since the state and the crokked city officials want to make these cuts!
Jim Carley Jim Carley Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:45:55 PM also this wouldn't be happeneing if our government stopped NAFTA and other trade pacts we've soold out of American workers with.
Cam Swift Cam Swift Tuesday, March 12, 2013 10:36:18 PM I Live close to east Saint Louis and for everyone who isn't from here you should know east saint louis is ghetto as all hell, poverty and crime are around every corner, its the kind of place where you get pulled over for being white, downtown saint louis is bad but this is where all the bad lives and comes from. Its really no surprise to me that these brave men and women are having to deal with this issue.
Bryan Sutton Bryan Sutton Wednesday, March 13, 2013 1:49:21 AM you know maybe they`ll wake up when there is a L.O.D.D I just hope it never happens keep up the fight my brothers and sisters.
Tina Catlett Tina Catlett Wednesday, March 13, 2013 4:37:04 AM This is so sad. All the people that we depend on are losing their jobs. The military, police and firemen. Who will be there in our time of need? The state and federal governments need to cut their spending and pay, not cut those who defend and protect them.
Andrew Fox Andrew Fox Wednesday, March 13, 2013 8:27:38 AM They have 18 captains 18 lt's and 17 firefighters. Also if you figure it up if there is 4 stations so why aren't the other 2 responding if they are that short handed
Phillip McLean Phillip McLean Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:17:54 AM Awesome fireground footage. I live in St. Louis - Missouri side (born & raised), and East St. Louis has had one corrupt politician after another stealing from the unfortunate citizens for as long as I can remember. The crooked leaders have never cared for their constituents so it's no surprise they've let such a vital service as fire protection fall to shambles too.
Justin Mack Justin Mack Wednesday, March 13, 2013 4:55:48 PM Not just a job, but a lifestyle chosen for a greater purpose than yourself.
Chip Thurston Chip Thurston Wednesday, March 13, 2013 5:41:37 PM There is difference between volunteer and career! ! Us career professional fire men commit to do the job as a career and to support our families. Volunteer for fun and most are not trained as well. Big difference here!!!
Jason R. Cole Jason R. Cole Wednesday, March 13, 2013 7:23:18 PM This is what is wrong with some of you "professtional" fire fighters, you have this total BS picture in your head of "volunteer" fire fighters. I have more training that a lot of career fire fighters thing is i don't need to brag about it. We all take the same training. I know a ton of good career fire fighters that started off as volunteers.
Karl Groth Karl Groth Friday, March 15, 2013 4:57:15 AM 20+ years as a "volunteer" /paid-on-call FF. With a safer grant my department became a mixed department. Our model works. We have one combined union for full time and paid-on-call (not IAFF because they are still in the stone ages not willing to represent paid-on-call). They key is we went from all paid-on-call to mix not the other way. I firmly believe going from a completely full time department to a mix department is mistake. I donít think that would ever work. We are brothers and sisters in arms when it comes to the fire service and any loss of jobs is a travesty. Chipís comments are the typical stereotyped that IAFF spews out on a regular basis and he should be ashamed of himself for even making the statements. In reality when it comes to training and participation the ďvolunteerĒ on average puts more time in than a full time firefighter and that time is on top of a full time job. We donít have the luxury to have the same assigned task on a truck and need to be ready do any job on a scene. Full time is still the best model for one key reason. Response time. Change is needed in full time departments. Crew duties need to change to be more flexible like paid-on-call (no more dedicated tasks) because you are going to need to work with less. Full time departments are going to need to embrace the mutual aide system and start covering and getting scene help from other departments. The all companies are busy so we leave large areas without coverage mentality needs to end. If a neighboring community has a fire house close to a scene there is no excuse for delaying response because you have no units or they are coming from across town.
MedTrans Servicios de Rescate MedTrans Servicios de Rescate Sunday, March 17, 2013 3:16:23 PM Friends: In Chile, a 100% volunteer firefighters are professionals. Why not start a volunteer program. Things work well here, and I think there too. If the city government will not do anything, you are going to sit idly by? our love and support to Fire the City of St. Louis.
Denny Riggs Denny Riggs Monday, November 11, 2013 9:39:11 PM My honest opinion on this is horrible they should have more firefighters or volunteers it don't matter if it's the hood bad area everyone knows that at one time it never use to there are still older folks that live there because that's where the grew up in that city anywhere u are going to go there is going to be bad neighborhoods and bad people but why should the others have to suffer if u are a firefighter u take an oath to help and protect the people and the city and always stick with ur brotherhood no one gets left behind
John Hawkins John Hawkins Wednesday, April 23, 2014 1:20:37 PM East St. Louis has been a financial disaster for many, many years. It is what happens when a society stops paying for the services it desperately needs. There is no tax base. East St. Louis may just be a terrible look into the future of the American inner city. The problem is why is it the responsiblty of the rest of us to fix this mess. Perhaps this shouldn't be fixed. With the leadership this city has shown they will be in the same situation again in a few short months if bailed out.

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