JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News has learned some brush fire trucks from JFRD are out of service because of a budget crunch.
Jean Harman knows how dry it is outside. She can feel it and so can her plants. With no rain so far this month, she's had to water her plants extra. Action News found out, there's a bigger concern for her and other neighbors living near heavily wooded areas. It's worrying the fire union president. "For budget reasons they had to take 3 brush trucks out of service," said union President Randy Wyse.
"I think that's deplorable," said Harman. One of those trucks is just a couple miles from Harman's home. We saw it just sitting outside. "To not give firefighters the equipment to do their jobs is deplorable," said Harman.
The fire union president says the city took three brush trucks out of service in July. It saved $855,000. But it also means when there's a brush fire on the northside, like there was last week, the brush fire truck has to come from the Southside. The brush trucks are also much smaller than regular engines too. "If an area is un-accessible by engines, you have to go to the smaller truck and that takes longer and little fires become big ones," said Wyse.
That's what worries homeowners like harman. She's already seen brush fires come close before. "We had fires back in 1998 and it was close then and can happen again," said Harman.
The other brush fire trucks taken out of service are in Mandarin and on the Westside. There are still 4 trucks in service. The brush trucks only hold about 250 gallons of water, compared to regular engines that hold 600 gallons. The brush trucks are also smaller to get into the tight wooded areas.