Excerpts from foxillinois.com:

While still dealing with a $1.4 million cut to their budget, the Springfield firefighter’s union is concerned over another issue: What happens if there are too many fires and not enough firefighters?

On Sunday night, three fires in under three hours occupied most of the Springfield Fire Department’s resources. Now, they say they are worried that if fewer people are on staff at one time because of these budget cuts, it will leave the city unprotected in situations like this.

Due to the minimum manning provision in the previous contract between the city and the fire union, 49 firefighters have to be on staff at all times. At any moment, there are 45 firefighters on staff who operate 15 companies, plus two safety personnel and two battalion chiefs. During one fire, six rigs go out.

So, on Sunday, when two fires were burning at the same time and one followed shortly thereafter, resources were spread thin.

But, with the fire budget being cut by $1.4 million, the union fears layoffs and changes to the minimum manning provision may be coming.

While the Springfield mayor and the city’s leadership have repeatedly said layoffs will not happen, the union says a change to the minimum manning would be a loophole and would hurt the city in situations like Sunday night.

The previous contract between the city and the union expired on Feb. 28.