by Karris Harmon
Friday, October 7th 2022
PRICHARD, Ala. (WPMI) — A safety alert. The fire station on Highpoint Boulevard in Prichard is closed. We’re told it’s due to staffing and wage issues. That leaves only 2 fire stations to respond to calls across the entire city of Prichard. I tried to get some answers today, but city leaders refused to discuss their plans with me.
At about 8:00 am on Thursday we received a tip that the Highpoint Fire Station was closed due to staffing and wage issues. I stopped by the fire station today and it looked vacant. I even knocked on the door, but there was nobody home. So, I went to the Prichard City Hall in hopes of speaking to Mayor Gardner, but when I got there, the receptionist told me she had no idea where he was. Prichard’s City Council met Thursday, so I went hunting for answers there. During the meeting, Mayor Gardner acknowledged the issue. Gardner told the council wages need to go up to stay competitive.
“Our men and women are leaving here by the numbers. I had a person put in their two weeks’ notice today from the fire department. We’re already down in those numbers. It’s essential that we act,” said Gardner during the meeting.
We dug into the numbers today:
Firefighters in Mobile make $41,000 to $66,000 a year.
In Chickasaw firefighters make $30,000 to $47,000 a year.
In Saraland firefighters make $34,000 to $55,000 a year.
In Prichard firefighters make $27,000 to $42,000 a year.
The City Council discussed their plan in executive session, saying they’ll have a budget meeting Tuesday. NBC 15 news will be there. There are more than 18,000 people that live in Prichard and there were four fires just last Wednesday. Other local fire departments are on standby to fill in when necessary.