L.A. firefighters protest budget cuts

LOS ANGELES The department is facing a $39 million budget shortfall. In response, Fire Chief Douglas Barry came up with a "Modified Coverage Plan." Among other things, it calls for leaving 15 fire trucks and nine ambulances unstaffed on a rotating basis at fire stations across the city.

The firefighters normally assigned to the units would be shifted to fill vacancies on other trucks and ambulances that otherwise would have been filled with overtime assignments.

Chief Barry has acknowledged that the plan will increase both response times and workload, but notes that it will keep all city fire stations open with at least one active fire truck or ambulance.

The firefighters union has accused the city of using the cutbacks as a negotiating tactic in contract talks.

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