Houston firefighter discusses budget cuts: ‘I’ve got some real concerns with safety’

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 11:28 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 24 at 11:40 PM

KINGWOOD, Texas -- Kerry Williams spoke out at a town hall meeting as a homeowner and a resident of Kingwood.

But it was his perspective as a Houston firefighter that turned up the heat surrounding controversial cutbacks at the Houston Fire Department.

“Our homes are being put in jeopardy,” said Williams. “Our families are being put in jeopardy. My concern is that it’s going to increase response times.”

The meeting, which was called for by City Councilmember Dave Martin, became an open forum to discuss the so-called rolling brownouts during which equipment at fire stations city-wide, will be temporarily shut down. Martin voted in favor of the measure last week.

“It was a gut wrenching decision,” said Martin. “I’m the biggest proponent of public safety. But we’ve got to find some way to do it and to do it the right way.”

Several other council members, also in attendance, took turns debating with themselves over the cutbacks they felt forced to support.

“You know when you rush something through, you get buyer’s remorse,” said Councilmember Michael Kubosh.

“Leave the fire fighters alone”, said Councilmember Brad Bradford.

It was a popular thought among some long time property owners.

“To have a brown out really shocks me,” said one homeowner.

“I don’t like it at all but they had no choice,” another homeowner said.

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