Alexandria city officials backed off a plan to hold a ribbon-cutting this weekend for their newest fire station because while the building is finished, there are no firefighters to staff it.
Brand-new Station 210 near the Van Dorn Metro station is a needed addition to the growing section of the city, but residents are upset to
learn it could be another year and a half before it's fully staffed.
Except for a paramedic crew and its vehicles, the station is empty.
Staffing the new station is not just a matter of money, City Council member Del Pepper said. The department had more retirements than expected, and recruiting and training new firefighters takes time.
Meanwhile, the nearby ethanol transfer station just announced plans to expand, causing residents more concerns about the lack of firefighters. Some signed a petition demanding that the city include in the 2016 budget whatever funding is needed to get the station fully operational.
The council is exploring all options but there may not be a quick fix, Pepper said.