Saddle River fire chief resigns after saying not enough firefighters

SADDLE RIVER (WABC) -- Saddle River's fire engines don't get a lot of use these days, and it is not because there aren't any emergencies. On some nights, there is no one around to drive them.

At a debate on Thursday night, Council Candidates voiced their opinions.

"We have a problem in this town," said Council Candidate Lou Mastriano.

The Fire Chief resigned earlier this year and last week, his successor resigned.

In a statement, the Fire Chief said, "the Saddle River Volunteer Fire Department is not able to provide sufficient and timely services when supplying protection from fires and other emergencies...we still respond to emergencies with one or two firefighters usually well after 10-20 minutes of initial dispatch, if at all."

In fact, by his own statistics, the former Chief says a resident's chance of getting a response from the Saddle River Fire Department is not much better than fifty percent. Coverage is supplemented by volunteers from surrounding communities, and EMS services are contracted to Valley Hospital.

Residents tell Eyewitness News that a long-term solution is crucial.

The acting Fire Chief refused to discuss the situation, but the Fire Commissioner said there hasn't been a fire in Saddle River so far this year. He insists that public safety is not a risk.

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