Some troubling news facing the Shreveport Fire Department today. Equipment failures have forced the Fire Chief to temporarily close at least one station.

Fire Chief Scott Wolverton says the aging fleet of his department is breaking down and this is causing problems across the city. Wolverton told a city council committee a fire engine at Station 1 broke down. An engine from Station 2 had to be moved over to provide the best cover for the city. As a result, Station 2 was shut down on Saturday. This is only a temporary situation, but the chief told the Audit and Finance Committee: "Station 2 has been shut down since Saturday because we have no engine to put in that station."

Station 2 is in north Shreveport on North Market. This station handles calls from the MLK area and the North Highlands community.

Photo courtesy of KTBS

As we learn of this news, the committee was also told Fire Station 12 at Bert Kouns and Woolworth Road is now back open after being closed for five days. Chief Wolverton says equipment failures is becoming an ever increasing problem at stations across the city. He says he doesn't have enough trucks to properly staff all of the stations in the city.

Another problem facing the department is response times. An internal audit shows response times have now dipped below national standards. This could ultimately impact the fire department's overall rating which drives homeowners insurance rates.

The big problem according to Chief Wolverton is the age of our equipment. He says only 4 of the city's 21 fire engines meet national standards in terms of age. Chief Wolverton says the city needs to focus on putting a plan in place to regularly replace the fire trucks rather than wait for voters to approve bond issues to pay for this critical equipment.

The fire department is also facing some of the same problems facing the police department. Staffing issues are a concern. Low starting pay is resulting in problems recruiting men and women who want to serve in the fire service.

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