Firefighters march to City Hall, protest after mayor announces potential layoffs

By Brittany Taylor - Digital News Editor, Brandon Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston firefighters, families and supporters marched to City Hall Tuesday afternoon to protest and send a message to local officials.

The march began at 1 p.m. at GHW Bush Monument on Bagby and Franklin.

The protest comes a day after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced in a statement that in order to implement Proposition B, the city anticipates having to lay off 400 to 500 firefighters and municipal employees. 

"We're really concerned now that he's talking about threatening to close multiple fire stations. That's people's lives at risk," said Ryan Lee, who has been a Houston Fire Department firefighter for 16 years. 

Lee is talking about the six fire stations citywide that are potentially on Turner's chopping block, according to the Houston Fire Union.

These six fire stations that are expected to close, according to the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association:

The union told KPRC the mayor's office on Monday gave it the list of fire stations that may be shuttered to the foot the bill for the firefighters' pay raises. 

"He wants to sit here and close fire stations and everybody knows if you go against this mayor, he's going to make you pay for it," said Patrick Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. 

It's a matter of politics at play, firefighters said, at the expense of lives, jobs and public safety. But Turner said it's a matter of dollars and cents.

On Monday, Turner said the city would begin paying out Prop B pay raises to firefighters beginning in May at the expense of hundreds of layoffs. Others claim money to accommodate Prob B can be found and no layoffs are required.

"That's (a) garbage fee. And I'm not saying that's the final answer but what it will do is prevent us from laying off 400 firefighters, up to 100 police officers, 2,300 city employees," said City Councilman Dwight Boykins.  

WATCH: Firefighters march to City Hall and protest 

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