NEW ORLEANS - Fire Department Ladder Truck Five, which serves Uptown, goes out of service July 14. Area residents worry they won't be as safe.
"We're the only area of the city that is left this desperately unprotected," said Beth LeBlanc.
"It includes the Magazine Corridor, commercial corridor, it includes the Tchoupitoulas Corridor, it includes Children's Hospital," added Susan Krantz.
"If I felt that we were doing something that endangered them, put their lives at risk, or reduced service to an unacceptable level, my voice would be heard loud and clear at City Hall," said Interim FIre Chief Tim McConnell.
McConnell himself lives near the Arabella Street station, and he said Pumper Truck 15 will still be there. But he said Ladder 5 is going out of service due to a department wide redeployment announced in January following a study of the number of calls for service.
"Makes the fewest calls in the city, both overall calls and fires," noted McConnell.
"Less doctors, less medical care; less teachers, less education; less firefighters, less fire protection," said Firefighters Union President Nick Felton. "It's real simple."
But area residents and firefighters union leaders point out that the recommended response time for a ladder truck is no more than eight minutes, and they worry that once Ladder 5 goes out of service, it will take longer than that to get the next closest truck to areas like parts of the Tchoupitoulas Corridor. "Fire can escalate tremendously, it can jump to the next structure, you can have problems with search and rescue," said Felton.
"I guarantee it won't be massive in terms of the fire spreading, because the ones that are showing up with water, with the hose to put it out are exactly the same," said McConnell.