by: Rebecca Brumfield, Sheridan Hurtig
PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — For four days this week, the Peoria Fire Department said it’ll temporarily suspend service to Engine Company 2, which is out of Station #8 located on Hurlburt Street.
Leaders said fire staff have been affected by COVID-19, leaving the station empty-handed.
Council Member for District 1 Denise Jackson said, “Some of what has transpired is a direct result of firefighters being impacted by COVID. Some of them having contracted it, and others having been exposed to people who have COVID.”
The temporary suspension runs from Dec. 22-25, but Battalion Chief Jim Bachman said there are no guarantees that the time frame will not expand.
“Initially it’s at 4 days, but as we continue through the year, we have to continue to keep an eye on it. There’s a chance that this could continue for a few days afterward, and maybe even up to the 31st,” said Bachman.
Engine Company 2 returned to service on Nov. 1 after the remainder of the existing operational budget for 2021 showed enough funds to bring the engine back into service.
Bachman is confident that no matter what happens, the engine will be recommissioned in 2022.
Bachman said, “We do know that money is in the 2022 budget starting January 1st, so worst-case scenario, it will reopen January 1st.”
Despite continuously monitoring their operational finances to stay within budget, Fire Administration said there were some unexpected expenses.
“This difficult decision had to be made for financial reasons. As we navigate through the remainder of the year, we will continue to monitor the situation and make the necessary adjustments as needed. The funding for Engine 2 is in the 2022 budget and will be in service beginning January 1.”
Residents will continue to receive service from the 11 fire stations within city limits.
“Regardless of how many people live in that area, I’m confident that the fire department can make whatever adjustments they have to so that when backups from other stations are needed, they are in a position to make those things happen in a timely manner,” said Jackson.
Peoria Fire Department
505 N.E. Monroe
Peoria, IL 61603
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