Scranton, Lackawanna County - Scranton firefighters say it's a major step in the right direction. Mayor Chris Doherty announced a dozen firefighters will be re-hired and a fire station reopened. It's all part of an ongoing battle over fire protection in the Electric City.
Since January first Engine 10 on East Mountain has sat empty. It will re-open Saturday morning and Scranton firefighters they're hoping this is just the beginning.
As fire tore through this home on Froude Street on Scranton's East Mountain, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Floryshak says he had plenty of time to get a game plan together on the drive to the scene.
"You also know there's plenty of time for that fire to make more headway," said Floryshak.
It took the first due engine about ten minutes to respond, because the closest fire station, Engine 10 on East Mountain was closed.
"It was unacceptable and I as the mayor, and the other leaders of the community, and I have to credit the fire union, we all came together to say here's a plan that can work for us," said Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty.
Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty, who was criticized for making cuts to the fire department, announced that station along with a dozen firefighters would return to the department. Floryshak, who also fought a major fire this week on Swetland Street in Scranton, sees this as step in the right direction.
"I firmly believe our firefighters would have been safer and the outcome of those fires would have been much different if we had adequate resources, especially on the first alarm. And I think this decision is the appropriate response to start the process to restore adequate resources on our first alarm," said Floryshak.
Firefighters say once engine 10 goes back into service Saturday morning they hope that's just the beginning.
"Still want to talk to the mayor about bringing additional companies back, bringing additional bodies back and reopening more companies. I think there is a line of communication there now between us and the mayor," said John Judge, the Scranton Fire Department's union president.
Scranton's City Council has been vocal about not cutting any fire service.
"Stations are strategically placed and removing one of those stations knocks the whole strategy out of place," said Scranton Councilman Jack Loscombe.
Now council's money along with unused dollars budgeted for winter plowing costs will pay for the re-hired firefighters. A move that's welcome by residents.
Three firefighters will be staffing Engine 10 Saturday morning and as far as the fire that happened only a few blocks away, that is still under investigation.