FORT WORTH — Fort Worth firefighters arrived less than one minute after getting the call Tuesday on a kitchen fire in the back of Tim Love’s Lonesome Dove restaurant on North Main Street.
They came from Fire Station No. 12.
But what if Station No. 12 wasn't available because of budget cuts?
One of the responding firefighters went straight to City Council to plant that thought.
“It's going to add two minutes to a growing fire in the Stockyards, which is nothing but kindling,” Lt. David Dodson told Council members during public comments.
Dodson explained that the Lonesome Dove fire shows exactly why it's dangerous to randomly remove five crews per day from service, a kind of "rolling brownout" among the city's dozen stations with double crews, which include Station No. 12.
"People are going to die, and we're going to lose structures because of it," Dodson said Wednesday.
Last week, the Fort Worth City Council began considering a budget that cuts about $3.5 million from the fire department, and would increase average response time by about 1 minute and 48 seconds, according to Fire Chief Rudy Jackson.
That's starting to raise concerns, especially in Stockyards stores like The Bum Steer. It has hundreds of thousands of dollars of exotic western furniture and is right next door to Lonesome Dove.
"It wouldn't have taken much for it to get through that wall,” said Clayton McDonald. “That could have made all the difference — their response time."
Lt. Dodson said he believes the message is getting through.
"I did get a text from the mayor,” he said. “She said she thinks they do have a solution to the staffing issue."
The Fort Worth Firefighters Association hopes to hear that solution at another budget session on Thursday. Meanwhile, they’re plotting their strategy about how to respond if the proposed cuts stay in the budget.