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Natomas To City: Staff The Fire Truck We Paid For

City of Sacramento

Sacramento City Fire Station 30 has an engine and a truck, but no ambulance.

City of Sacramento

The Sacramento City Council has voted to add staffing for a fire truck at Station 43 and an ambulance for Station 30 in Natomas in next year's fire department budget proposal.  If the positions are in the final budget, it will fulfill a promise two years in the making.

At Tuesday's meeting people who live in Natomas told the council it isn't fair they have two fire engines, one fire truck and one ambulance for 100,000 people.  

Leslie Rubalcava told the story of a toddler who stopped breathing at a Natomas playground three months ago.

"From purple to pale white due to the lack of oxygen. It was then when I said to myself, 'I really hope CPR works and  where are the paramedics?' I couldn't even hear any sirens coming as each second felt like an hour."

Rubalcava performed CPR on the boy and saved his life.

People in Natomas paid extra taxes for a second fire truck in 2013 for Station 43 under an agreement that the city would staff it. But, that has not yet happened.

Council member Angelique Ashby says the City has also failed to provide a second ambulance that would be housed at Station 30.

She says that's because City Manager John Shirey has been holding out for paramedics to staff the ambulance instead of firefighters because paramedics are trained to an "Advanced Life Support" level and are cheaper than firefighters who are trained to a "Basic Life Support" level.

"What you can't do Mr. City Manager, all due respect, is fund it at the level that you want and then force the hand and hold the community hostage. So for two years, the community has not had adequate emergency services."

The department says firefighters union Local 522 has refused to negotiate a city proposal to staff ambulances with paramedics.

Union President Brian Rice told the council to "put your money where your mouth is and make it happen for them."

Shirey did not respond during the meeting.

The vote only puts the items in the budget proposal. The fire department and finance department will return within the next two weeks with funding options. The fire department says it could cost about $2 million to staff the fire truck and the ambulance.

0520 sac city fire stations

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob is the Sacramento Region Reporter. He has been at the forefront of the coverage of the Sacramento Kings' saga and the effort to build a new arena in Sacramento. He also covers education, business, environment, and sports stories.   Read Full Bio