By FireRescue1 Staff
TAMPA, Fla. — A fire chief warned county officials that response performance will continue to get worse unless 25 new fire stations are added in the next 25 years.
Hillsborough Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones said a new station hasn't opened in a decade, Tampa Bay Times reported.
"We have an urgent need for more stations," Chief Jones said. "If we can't get our units on scene within four to six minutes, we're working behind the curve and citizens aren't being served."
Crews respond in less than seven minutes about 55 percent of the time, which is short of the department's 90 percent goal.
According to the county, it would require $20 million a year through 2031 to build the fire stations and buy trucks. Staffing would increase the department's budget by more than $70 million a year.
Commissioner Ken Hagan said Chief Jones' plan was "extremely aggressive."
"Additional funding sources need to be considered," Hagan said. "I'll be honest with you – I feel there is some that feel we have unlimited revenue and that our budget decisions do not have consequences. Sooner or later, we will have an economic downturn and our chickens will come home to roost."