Amarillo Fire Department Appeals for Funding

The Amarillo fire department is asking for seventeen million dollars in extra funding.

Newschannel10's Tina Berasley tells us how fire officials plan to spend that extra cash. 

Today fire chief Steve Ross appealed to city commissioners with a specific plan for his department's future.

Since 2000, the number of 9-1-1 calls they have responded to has increased by 39%...a fact Ross says can't be ignored.

The first step in his plan will cost 7.5 million dollars. That money will go towards renovating some of the fire stations in the updating the housing for female firefighters and making room for new equipment. "Eight of ten fire stations are in need of renovation, they don't support modern fire apparatus four of them were built in the 1950's and they're not large enough for modern fire trucks to fit in at the present time were putting fire trucks where they fit, not where they belong."

To get average response times down to under 4 minutes Ross also recommends building new stations in the southeast and northwest areas of the a cost of 2.8 million dollars.

The remainder of the money will be spent on hiring more firefighters ...updating training facilities and communications equipment, and buying 3 new vehicles for the proposed stations.

Commissioners will now decide whether or not to bring this plan to the public as early as next fall. Commissioner Jim Simms says the commission will have to figure out where those funds can come from; "Just to get us up to date is like 14 million dollars and theres no way we have 14 million dollars extra in our funds, so this would have to be addressed with some new capital possibly a bond issue."