Protesters want city leaders to bailout Peoria Fire Department, save stations on chopping block

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Saving the stations, protesters gathering today to make their voices be heard supporting two Peoria fire stations facing potential closures. This one coming after Peoria city officials voting against a bailout of the fire department.

A month ago Peoria city leaders voting to cut two fire stations and layoff multiple firefighters. And for the second time in weeks protesters gathering off Allen Road asking to keep fire station 20 open and avoid being extinguished. Protest organizer Jillian O’Dell said they want their stations to be saved.

“We want our fire stations to stay open, we don’t want them to close,” O’Dell said.

This past Tuesday city officials voted against saving the stations while also giving 4-million dollars to save the civic center. O’dell say the city needs to re-think its priorities.

“How I manage money in my household; I’m not spending lavishly on food, entertainment things like that, before I put my health and safety first,” O’Dell said.

The two stations on the chopping block Station 4 on Peoria’s southside, and station 20 in north Peoria. Bala Mariappaen, homeowner in station 20’s response zone says it’s scary to think of a new normal without the station.

“I feel like paying taxes, we should get services and that’s why I’m protesting here,” Mariappaen said.

Neighbors worry about longer response times and say it’s a matter of life or death. John Carroll a local doctor says engine 20 firefighters duel as paramedics and losing them would be horrible.

“Engine 20 is very close, AMT is frequently delayed and that would leave it up to other fire engines in the city and they might not be paramedics,” Carroll said.

Protesters said they wont stop until city leaders fund their station and listen to their demands.

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