Phoenix Fire Dept. told to cut $20mil. from budget

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Keeping the public safe

PHOENIX -- "In 27 years that i've been with the fire service this is probably one of the worst budget crisis that we've had to deal with." says Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Kahn.

Phoenix firefighters have always been proud of how quickly and efficently they respond to emergencies.

But that proud record is now in jeopardy because of two straight years of budget cuts.

In 2007, the department's budget was cut by 3 percent which translates to $7.5million dollars.

This year, even a bigger hit. A 7.5 percent cut totaling more than $19million dollars.

"We're to the line now. I'm not sure there is any more room for us to make adjustments or be creative." remarks Kahn.

Because of the budget crunch, priority is given to calls to the 911 emergency center. The chief says that is consistent with the department's mission of protecting life and property.

"Our hope is to get through this budget crisis and if somebody has a heart attack or thier house is on fire they dont know we've suffered a budget crunch. That's important to us. Are we up against the wall to where we could be impacted? I believe we're pretty darn close right now."

In the meantime, a hiring freeze is in effect and the opening and staffing of new fire stations will be put on hold.