SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Firefighters are taking longer to arrive at emergencies since staffing cuts were instituted nearly a year ago, fire Chief Javier Mainar told a City Council committee Wednesday.
Mainar said the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department aims to match the national standard for responding to house fire -- getting a crew of 15 firefighters to a blaze in nine minutes 90 percent of the time -- but he told the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee that firefighters were now hitting the mark only 69 percent of the time.
In the Midway district, Mira Mesa and Rancho Penasquitos, response times have recently been running more than 11 minutes, according to Fire-Rescue statistics.
Mainar cautioned that average response times in San Diego are typically lower than the national standard -- around eight minutes -- but that averages can be misleading because some spots are farther from fire stations than others.
Downtown has the fastest response times, averaging a little more than five minutes, Mainar said. In North Park, response times are average about six minutes.
Staffing cutbacks aimed at saving $11.5 million in the current fiscal year were instituted in February. As many as eight fire engines are taken out of service each day on a rotating basis to reduce costs.
"I think we're making a serious mistake by not putting engines back on the street, and we're putting public safety at risk," councilwoman Marti Emerald, who head the committee, said.
The city's chief financial officer, Mary Lewis, said Mayor Jerry Sanders would consider allowing the fire department to return to previous levels at the start of the fiscal year, July 1.
Restoring fire department staffing to previous levels now would cost about $4.8 million, according to the mayor's office.
Sunday was all about those who laid their lives on the line and with the number of veterans dwindling each year, many present at a Miramar ceremony hope to keep their memory alive.
A Navy Seal team member has died after his parachute failed to open during a Fleet Week demonstration over the Hudson River.
Metropolitan Transit System is scheduling extra service starting Monday for a three-day game series between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs at Petco Park, a spokesperson said.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Commencement was held Sunday for seniors at the University of San Diego, with ceremonies featuring a pair of distinguished alumni.
Cool and cloudy conditions start off Friday morning, but the sun will break through in the afternoon. Strong winds in San Diego County's deserts are also expected to ease up Friday morning.
A 30-year-old was knocked out and stabbed three times at the Beyer Trolley Station early Sunday morning, according to Officer Robert Heims of the San Diego Police Department.
A bird was responsible for an outage that left thousands without electricity Sunday, a San Diego Gas & Electric spokesperson said.
The remains of a U.S. Navy pilot killed when his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War have been brought to San Diego for burial.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.