Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Neighbors and firefighters teamed up Thursday for a rally to keep Syracuse's Fire Station 6 intact, as the city tries to save money. Dozens of people with signs labeled "Save Station 6" lined a median in the road near the station, as drivers honked their horns.
Tom Stack remembers watching crews help a neighbor when he was a kid.
"I imagine if the fire department wasn't right here, in the proximity that it is, that it would have ended up displacing that family totally,” Stack told NewsChannel 9.
As part of a restructuring plan, Fire Station 7 on East Fayette Street would close. Station 6 on West Street would gain a rescue vehicle, but lose its engine company to a newly structured Station 1 on S. State Street.
The President of Syracuse Firefighters Local 280, Lonnie Johnson, says engine companies can carry water to fire alarms and answers many EMS calls, but rescue vehicles have limited capabilities.
"There will be engine companies coming from a further distance to assist them and we all know that every minutes counts if you have a stroke or a heart attack. Every minute counts,” said Syracuse Firefighters Local 280 President Lonnie Johnson.
The firefighter's union expects crews in Syracuse to answer 30,000 calls this year. While jobs cuts are not part of the current plan, the city does want to cut overtime, claiming savings of up to $1.5-million if they reduce the number of firefighters on duty each shift from 69 to 65.
The thought unnerves Kathy Stoughtenger, who called on Station 6 when her husband was ill.
“They came one time earlier in the night to help me pick him up when he fell. Then the second time they came to try to resuscitate him. They were very compassionate. Very wonderful,” said Stoughtenger.
Stoughtenger collected signatures from people at the rally who oppose the cuts. A mix of firefighters and their families were joined by people who live in the district that Station 6 services.
"I live a block away. I hear the trucks coming out all the time. I see them coming out,” said Gary Bonaparte who lives in the Station 6 District. "When this station was built, it was built to fill a need for this neighborhood and the need is still there.”
Despite the protest, a representative for Mayor Stephanie Miner said she has no plans to back down, but he wouldn't commit to a timeline for the changes.
The firefighter’s union will hold another "No Cuts" rally at Station 7 on Friday at 4 p.m. They plan to meet again at Noon on May 1, in front of Syracuse City Hall.