by Larry Little
For five years the city of Lufkin has been planning to build a new fire station, but eight year firefighter Michael Sanford is among those who doesn't believe the department needs a new building. He'd rather see a pay increase for Lufkin firefighters. "We would like to see the benefits increase to similar cities. We are the only city in this area and statewide that provide county and city ems," says Firefighters Union President, Michael Sanford.
Sanford says the department is constantly losing firefighters because of low pay making it harder to provide top quality service for Lufkin citizens. "It greatly affects our workload and how we handle day to day operations because we don't have enough personnel to man the ambulances and you end up responding with a paramedic and a basic," says Sanford.
City Manager Paul Parker doesn't believe there is a firefighter retention problem. "I was surprised to see the firefighters opposing a fire station. I think the point they were trying to make which is ironic because we had already been discussing potential raises," says Lufkin City Manager, Paul Parker.