Olathe firefighters: New fire station needed in western Olathe - KCTV5

Olathe firefighters: New fire station needed in western Olathe

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A show of solidarity by the Olathe Fire Department after its union president addressed city council about public safety concerns. (Rudy Harper) A show of solidarity by the Olathe Fire Department after its union president addressed city council about public safety concerns. (Rudy Harper)
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -

The Olathe firefighter's union is at odds with city leaders over next year's budget proposal. 

The proposal does not include a new fire station in the western part of the city, which has seen significant growth. 

Response times to 911 calls is the big concern for the firefighters. They packed city hall Tuesday and want leaders to address this public safety issue.

The first three rows inside council chambers were filled by Olathe firefighters. The first responders were showing their solidarity after a new fire station wasn’t included in the 2018 budget proposal.

Results from a study conducted back in 2014 by the fire department determined there was an immediate need for an eighth fire station on the west-side of town.

Union president Kevin Wattenbarger says neighborhoods like Prairie Highlands are vulnerable and lack credible fire coverage.

“The two options are going in anyway," he said. "Which is more than likely what anyone in here would do and getting themselves hurt or killed, or knowing they have to stand out stand and wait up to nine minutes for someone who has a pump to do something.”

A statement released today by the Fire Chief reads in part:  

“This Fall, the City of Olathe will open an eighth fire station in a growing part of our community, west Olathe.  Initially, the station will be based in a residential house similar to what other cities, including Olathe, have successfully done in the past.”

The mayor says public safety is his number one concern and asked the city manager and fire chief to give the council updated data.

The council will have a final vote on the budget in two weeks.

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