CAPE CORAL, FL- Battalion Chief Rob Blasetti says, "We have a lot of staffing issues and brown outs."
Those words have created a fire storm in the city. City leaders and those in the fire department refuted and clarified what we were told yesterday. Staffing came into question when firefighters took breaks with no relief crews on hand.
Blasetti told WINK, "Normally if we had our staffing levels which we're allowed to get, we'd have crews come in and they would alternate."
Today, there were mixed messages about those comments. The fire chief wouldn't go on camera but refuted them. We also talked with City Councilman Bill Diele.
Reporter Sarah Pusateri asks Coucilman Bill Diele, "So right now, as far as you can tell, there's no issue with the staffing and firefighters?"
He responded, "Well, we'd always like to have more, but it becomes an issue of balancing what we can afford with what we need. You can't staff for the worst case all the time."
Union president Mark Meurth wouldn't say the department is understaffed but told us this.
"The call volume is starting to go up, we're not getting there as quick as we used to , to me that's some indication that maybe staffing levels do need to increase."
This memo actually appears to contradict itself. It's on our website if you want to read it.
Also, we talked to Muerth by phone and he asked us to clarify. Cape fire brought in a browned out unit yesterday that was paid overtime.
That unit didn't fight the fire directly but helped relieve exhausted crews.