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Del City closes fire station in south of city

DEL CITY — The Del City Fire Department has closed one of its two fire stations due to budgetary and personnel constraints.

Fire Station 2, 4609 SE 44, is closed effective immediately, the department announced Monday.

"Unfortunately, we are in the perfect storm: budgetary constraints, loss of sales tax revenue, retirements and a loss of firefighters to other fire departments," said Del City Fire Chief Jim Hock.

All Del City firefighters will keep their jobs, and will be relocated to the city's Fire Station 1, Maj. Brandon Pursell said. The department hasn't been told if or when the fire station might reopen.

Pursell said the city has 22 firefighters, placing it three below its normal staffing level. The department is also set to lose several more in the coming weeks — three of whom are being hired away by Oklahoma City in a week and a half, and two more who are retiring in the next three months. A sixth firefighter plans to retire in January, he said.

Due to reduced staffing levels, the department also will be taking its rescue unit out of service for the foreseeable future, he said. The ladder and engine will remain on the roads, responding to calls from Fire Station 1.

It will take months to hire and train firefighters to replace those the department is losing.

"Our response times might be a little bit longer than what we're used to," Pursell said. "We're still going to shoot for three minutes. Obviously, in the south part of town we're going to expect a little longer of a response time."

A fire station being built near SE 28 and Epperly Drive is expected to be operational by December or January, but is not designed for a large staff of firefighters, Pursell said.

There were already talks of using Fire Station 2 for storage or turning the building over to the public works department.

"We're going to still maintain fire protection and emergency medical responses for our citizens, and we're going to continue doing the best job that we can," Pursell said.