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Bloor West fire hall closed, 4 trucks decommissioned

Bloor West Village fire hall, Station 424, is closed as of April 21, 2014. 680News/Carl Hanstke.

Toronto Fire Services’ fire hall Station 424 in Bloor West Village closed its doors on Monday after city council voted to reduce the size of Toronto’s fleet earlier this year.

The 84 firefighters stationed at the fire hall, located near Bloor Street West and Runnymede Road, will be redeployed elsewhere.

Four Toronto fire trucks were also taken out of service on Monday. Two trucks from Scarborough, one from Etobicoke and a pumper truck from Bloor West Village have been cut. Click here for a map of fire hall locations.

Cathy, who lives in the area, says it’s a danger due to the number of families in the area.

“I don’t like this closing. There’s a lot of children in this neighbourhood,” Cathy told 680News.

“Beyond faster response times, having a 24-hour manned fire station has definitely improved community spirits and community safety, so this is a big concern for us.”

Council made the decision during its two-day budget vote in January.

The original proposal was to eliminate five trucks. Councillors voted to save one of them, at a cost of $2 million. The fire department has a $422.8-million operating budget.

At the time, the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association (TPFFA) said that the cuts could jeopardize public safety by potentially increasing response times. Click here for a report on Toronto Fire statistics.

As for firefighters, city staff said any changes will be made through attrition, that there would be no changes in so-called first-in time responses and that the department would hire either 25 or 31 new fire prevention officers this year.

The issue of cuts came to a head on Thursday when TPFFA president Ed Kennedy wrote a scathing letter, criticizing Rob Ford for using a fire truck as a political prop during his official campaign launch in Etobicoke.

Kennedy called the use of the truck, which was emblazoned with the slogan ‘Saving the taxpayers from getting burned,’ “utterly tasteless” and a “cheap political stunt.”

“Mayor Rob Ford’s decision to use a fire truck to trumpet his false claims about taxpayer savings Thursday is a slap in the face to tens of thousands of Toronto residents whose fire protection levels will decrease Monday when four actual fire trucks are taken out of service,” Kennedy wrote.

“Public safety is not a game or a political trinket, it’s a mayor’s number one responsibility to his citizens.”

Coun. Doug Ford fired back in a published report, accusing Kennedy of using ‘scare tactics’ and calling for his replacement as TPFFA president.