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Losing fire station & 4 fire trucks would have ‘minimal impact’: Toronto fire chief

The head of Toronto Fire Services says after much risk analysis he concluded there would be “minimal impact” to close a fire station and pull four fire trucks off the streets this year but that he will assess and make changes if needed.

“We looked at years of data, call volumes, response time and looked at the best option to meet our budget targets with the least impact to service response times, servicing the public and safety for our fire staff,” fire chief Jim Sales said at a news conference on Tuesday.

On Monday, Fire Station 424 in Bloor West Village was closed and 84 firefighters redeployed elsewhere in Toronto to save $9 million as voted earlier by council. The decision, which leaves Toronto Fire Services with 124 fire trucks at 82 stations, was met with public outcry.

Coun. Sarah Doucette and the firefighters’ union were also critical of the decision, and the union even aired a TV ad saying the city’s plan to cut fire services “will put lives at risk.”

“All I can promise is that we will monitor the impact and report out if we find there’s an impact to our citizens and to the safety of our firefighters,” Sales said. “That’s paramount.”

In the coming months, Sales said fire services will analyze three components: first response time, turn out time and driving times. The standard times for the components are six minutes and 20 seconds; one minute and 20 seconds and four minutes, respectively.

“We’ll be analyzing all that info,” he said.

Sales said if the impact is greater “than what we presupposed in our calculations,” he’ll provide a report to city council outlining his options and recommendations.