LA fire union official warns of deaths from budget cuts

The head of the Los Angeles city firefighters union has warned that people could die as a result of the mayor’s plan to reduce fire department operations.

Pat McCosker says the rotating shutdowns, or “brownouts,” of 28 ambulances and fire trucks will increase response times.

Pat McCosker: "I was there in the early 1990s when we had brownouts the last time. I remember the tears shed over the mother and daughter who burned to death in the upstairs bedroom of an apartment that we couldn’t get to in time, we couldn’t ventilate, because the nearest company was browned out and we were delayed."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa disagreed that his decision would result in deaths. He said he’s forced to reduce fire department operations because the firefighters union won’t agree to proposed pay cuts. Union leaders say those cuts would equal 20 percent over four years.

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