ATLANTA — As Wednesday’s temperature crept upward toward 100 degrees, some Atlanta fire stations went without air conditioning.
Fire stations are unlike almost any other government building. Firefighters work 24-hour shifts and rest and eat inside between calls. It makes the absence of air conditioning a 24-hour problem.
In southwest Atlanta Wednesday, Fire Station No. 9 was using fans to keep the building cool inside – as the outside air conditioner unit stayed silent.
Firefighters said the AC unit at Station No. 11, near Atlantic Station, was recently repaired; it failed to work several days prior.
"They should not have to go from a heated environment to go and fight a fire," said City Councilman Michael Bond, who is on Atlanta's public safety committee.
It’s not clear how many of Atlanta’s 36 fire stations have lost AC during this heat wave. Firefighters aren’t talking about it publicly.
They are trying to get Dickens' administration to raise salaries to help eliminate a shortage of firefighters – a situation that has forced some to work 48-hour-long shifts.
At 51 years old, Station No. 9 is among the many Atlanta fire stations past their structural prime. Councilman Bond said it’s no surprise the city is struggling to keep its air conditioners working.
"We all love the old historic-looking fire stations but it comes at a cost. Because it is old, time will make it fall into disrepair if nothing else," Bond said.
He said a new voter-approved bond issue will fund renovations to many of the city’s fire stations.