With retirements, layoffs looming and no overtime, Atlantic City firefighters say they're spread thin
Nearby, 35 firefighters were finishing work on a devastating fire that burned dozens of people out of an Atlantic City rooming house. It was about 1:30 a.m. Aug. 29. That left only four firefighters to protect the rest of the city, he said, all of them on the west side of town in Chelsea Heights. Driving time to the far end of the city is more than 10 minutes without Saturday night traffic. The National Fire Protection Association standard calls for a response time of four minutes for the first arrival and eight minutes for a full crew. But the Memorial Avenue fire that burned 42 people out of their homes raises questions about department staffing, which has caused companies to close for most shifts this year as overtime was cut and 23 members retired. Another 30 members are set to be laid off Thursday. The fire also sparked a limit on mutual aid response from the Downbeach fire departments of Longport, Margate and Ventnor, which were angered that Longport and others were called in to man empty stations without off-duty city officers being recalled to their posts.
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