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London, Ont., firefighters association speaks out after station goes days without fire engine, replacement

A fire station in northeast London has been down a fire engine for the past four days, and the London Professional Fire Fighters Association (LPFFA) is raising concerns. Matthew Trevithick / 980 CFPL

UPDATE: Just after 3 p.m. July 27, the LPFFA stated that the fire engine at Station 7 that services the Huron and Highbury area was back in service.

A fire station in northeast London, Ont., has been down a fire engine for the past four days, and the London Professional Fire Fighters Association (LPFFA) is raising concerns.

Fire Station 7 near Huron Street and Highbury Avenue North is usually home to a ladder truck and a firetruck, but the station has been half vacant since Thursday because there are no spare engines available.

“This is very unusual for the London Fire Department,” LPFFA president Jason Timlick told 980 CFPL.  “They’ve been tremendous for 15 plus years at keeping vehicles staffed and in-service… This doesn’t happen in London, it hasn’t happened in a very long time.”

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“The anticipation is it’ll be back on Monday, but that’s five days where Station 7 will not have a frontline fire pump responding to calls,” he continued.

Timlick explains that when a firetruck needs repair, a spare fleet is always available to substitute the firetruck to ensure a less than four-minute response time.

However, since Station 7 is missing its 16,000-pound firetruck and there are no replacements, its 80,000-pound ladder truck had to take on more work.

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“The firetruck would go (to) search and rescue, water supply, motor collisions and medical calls,” Timlick said. “Now, the ladder truck that typically only responds to structure fires for ventilation, forceful entry and aerial operations is responding to everything.”

The LPFFA president says there are four spare pumps, a spare aerial and a spare tanker. However, two are currently in repair and the others are in-use.

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He adds repairs typically take a few hours to a day, and spares are usually available, but not this time.

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Richard Hayes, London Fire Department‘s deputy fire chief of operations, said in a statement that even though there are changes to deployment, “there are no changes to our ability to manage emergency calls in a timely manner.”

“Pump capacity, water supply, equipment, and personnel are readily available if needed,” the statement read. “There are always plans put in place to ensure that any impacts as a result of a vehicle being out of service for repairs are mitigated and that safety is not compromised.”

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Timlick says he’s hoping to get the message across to the public and city council that there’s service reduction in the city’s fire department.

“This has been a known problem (for) a couple of years now. We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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