A team of Caddo Parish fire fighters were called to the scene of a fire in Shreveport's toney Southern Trace neighborhood early Tuesday morning, despite the fact that Shreveport's Fire Station #22 is just a couple of miles away.

And the reason for the SFD no show? The station on Shreveport's Southern Loop was recently closed due to a temporary lack of manpower.

The south Shreveport station is one of three fire department facilities that have been on a rotation to close - the others being north Shreveport's #2 and #12 in the western part of the city - because of what City Councilman Grayson Boucher and others say are manpower shortages.

Boucher tells KEEL that the staffing problems are due to a combination of extended sick leave and city firemen leaving to go to work for rural departments. The councilman says the biggest reasons for fire fighter flight are low pay and poor equipment.

Meanwhile, Assistant to the Chief Clarence Reese told KTBS, "Right now we're down about 57 firefighters. And we're looking to hire as many as we can get right now. The Chief and Mayor Perkins have made that commitment."

Boucher also told KEEL that the isolation of #22 station has him concerned for the safety of citizens in his district. "It's isolated and away from the city and needs to be manned 24 hours a day."

Shreveport Stations Station #2 and #12 were also temporarily closed in June because of major equipment breakdowns and shortages. At that time, SFD Chief Scott Wolverton told KEEL that equipment failures are becoming an ever increasing problem across the city and emphasized that there aren't enough trucks to properly staff all of the stations.


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