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Could closing two fire houses save Utica money?

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Utica councilman is putting forth a proposal to close two of Utica's six firehouses in an effort to save the city money.

First Ward Common Councilman Frank Vescera wants the city's Public Safety Committee to bring up the topic for discussion, saying that other cities the same size of Utica have fewer firehouses.

Vescera says that before the city finds itself in another large budget crisis next year, he would like to start exploring options beforehand.

"This can not be done in a quick manner," Councilman Vescera said. "If we decide to do that, which I really believe we need to do, other cities are making those tough choices, we should do it in a very calm, methodical manner."

"Nobody wants to lose their corner firehouse, but over the years, the corner fire houses have closed," said Assistant Chief George Clark of the Utica Fire Department. "But we're at the level now that any further decrease is going to dramatically effect response, and our ability to do this job."

There is no word on how soon the Public Safety Committee will vote on whether to look into the possibility of consolidating fire houses.

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