Olathe firefighters union: New temporary fire station leaves man - KCTV5

Olathe firefighters union: New temporary fire station leaves many unprotected

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The current response time is as long as 10 minutes. Watternbarger hopes the city will take a closer look at the plan for the temporary station. (KCTV5) The current response time is as long as 10 minutes. Watternbarger hopes the city will take a closer look at the plan for the temporary station. (KCTV5)
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -

A group of firefighters will plead with Olathe city leaders to change a plan they say will leave many people unprotected.

In four weeks, the city plans to open temporary Fire Station 8, serving the growing community of western Olathe.

The new station will be located at 2400 W Dennis Avenue.

But some firefighters say the station’s temporary status won’t allow it to provide any fire protection.

Kevin Wattenbarger, the president of the Olathe Professional Firefighters Association, says Fire Station 8 will be staffed with a two-person part-time medical squad and no firefighting equipment.

Starting Oct. 1, if a fire breaks out in the area, Wattenbarger says they’ll continue to request help from neighboring fire districts.

The current response time is as long as 10 minutes. Wattenbarger hopes the city will take a closer look at the plan for the temporary station.

“We have the ability to properly staff it now,” Wattenbarger said. “We have the equipment, we have the residence, we have the personnel, all they have to do is reallocate some resources.”

Olathe's budget was already voted on and finalized in August.

Wattenbarger plans to go back to the council in two weeks if the fire station is still not properly staffed with full fire protection.

"We put on 16 new firefighters. Part of that was increasing two personnel per shift over what we had previously," Wattenbarger said. "So, we've suggested relocating those two personnel per shift out there and then we also hired people to open a third part-time squad. We're suggesting delaying that."

"It also depletes the services in the rest of the city because we have to bring units from another part of town to come out here and handle these issues," he added.

Wattenbarger says he will give the city time to make a change but does plan to talk with city leaders in two weeks if there is no movement on the matter.

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