LAKE DALLAS - More than 300 people attended the Lake Dallas City Council meeting Thursday to voice their support for the Lake Cities Fire Department.
"Had [the firefighters] not been there, everything would have been lost, and I can't thank them enough for being there for my family," one woman said.
The department, which serves Lake Dallas, Corinth, Shady Shores and Hickory Creek, is facing a crisis.
Leaders from Lake Dallas and Hickory Creek might split from the department to create their own.
"It worries me," said firefighter Kevin Conner. "I've got two kids. I like to provide for them and I love my job."
Around 15 firefighters out of 36 could lose their jobs if Lake Dallas and Hickory Creek move forward with the possible plan.
The battle is over renewing the contract for service with the City of Corinth, which runs the department.
For Lake Dallas officials, the new five-year deal is a budget buster.
The city currently pays around $915,000 per year for service. The proposed contract would bump that cost to nearly $1 million per year.
"It boils down to economics, the cost factor of contributing to the existing budget, opposed to saving the potential savings of $200,000 per year for the next five years," said Lake Dallas Mayor Tony Marino.
Lake Dallas said it can maintain the same level of service, but firefighters disagree.
"Day to day expenses are very expensive," said Wes Oldham from the Lake Cities Professional Firefighters Association. "You are looking at fuel costs, your manpower every day. When you come down to it, you can't put a price on saving somebody's life."
Lake Dallas' City Council did not vote on the issue. It decided to hold another workshop with the fire department to further discuss the proposed new contract.