Residents in NO's District A demand better fire protection - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Residents in New Orleans' District A demand better fire protection

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NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell addresses the crowd as other city leaders look on. NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell addresses the crowd as other city leaders look on.
New Orleans, La. -

Over 100 people gathered Tuesday night at Mayor Mitch Landrieu's budget meeting in Lakeview, and the size of the New Orleans Fire Department was a hot topic.

Right now, NOFD has 674 members. Last year, Superintendent Charles Parent said the department could not safely go below 694 members.

Residents brought this up to Mayor Landrieu, with one woman saying, "We do have a jewel of a city. We do have wonderful things that you have done. But if we have no firefighters to protect that jewel and to protect life safety and historic landmarks and people's homes, then it does no.good to have more parks and prettier streets.

According to the New Orleans Fire Fighters Association, there's no money in the city budget to hire new firefighters.

New NOFD Supt. Tim McConnell says the same level and number of resources are going to each call for service as before Katrina. But he admits, manpower is low at times.

"When leaves get high, sick leaves go up, our numbers will suffer and we'll run an apparatus short. That does happen on occasion but we do have enough staffing for 20 percent of the force to be off on any given day," McConnell said.

Residents also voiced concern at the meeting over the level of crime in the city and the number of streets filled with potholes. For residents with specific street complaints, Landrieu directed them to a representative from the Department of Public Works who was present at the meeting.

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