SAN ANTONIO -- About a dozen firefighters—volunteers and paid workers-are hauling furniture and equipment inside two south side substations to respond to emergencies around the clock after a fire station shut down New Year’s Eve.
At 12:15 am, Captain Taylor Squires with the Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department said a notice went out alerting emergency operators the substation would no longer respond to calls for help.
Despite concerns, Sylvia Mendelsohn, Emergency Service District, or ESD 6 insists the personnel change won't hurt response time.
"A lot of them have volunteered in this area with Sandy Oaks, with South Bexar, with Ata-Bexar, so they are very familiar with that and even if they weren’t familiar with a location, they have a very sophisticated GPS system,” stated Mendelsohn.
In November, the EDS 6 Commissioner says three volunteer fire departments received a final notice about violations to their contracts with Bexar County.
In regard to the Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department, Mendelsohn points specifically to a rule against nepotism.
She told us the fire chief and his wife both work for the department.
Mendelsohn said the relationship could affect how the chief assigns crews in dangerous situations.
"The question that falls on the chief is whether he would send that family member in or send someone else."
Squires disagrees and told us the chief is a paid employee and the chief's wife is a volunteer.
Squires said Sandy Oaks firefighters are considering legal action regarding the contract dispute.
There will be a meeting Wednesday at 6pm at the now closed Sandy Oaks fire station at 3306 Hardy Road.
For now, the ESD 2 firefighters are expected to serve the remainder of a contract Bexar County has with Sandy Oaks—keeping temporary crews in District 6 through September 2014.
Those crews will work from two substations:2210 South Loop 1604
and 4415 S Flores Road.