Cost-cutting plan sparks concerns in North Las Vegas

It might take a little longer for firefighters valleywide to handle some emergency calls come Sunday.

That’s when North Las Vegas fire stations could start shutting down equipment on a shift-by-shift basis on various days depending on staff availability. It’s a cost-cutting measure known as a “brownout,” a practice of not staffing when a vacancy, such as a vacation or sick leave, occurs in that city’s Fire Department. Affected stations would be prioritized based on location and include No. 54 on Camino Al Norte, No. 50 on Martin Luther King Boulevard and No. 56 by Aliante Station.

But some county officials and firefighters call the North Las Vegas plan a threat to public safety that will go up in flames by delaying response times and increasing the workload for other jurisdictions forced to pick up calls in the financially strapped city.

Others say there is no need to worry: Firefighters and private ambulance companies will still answer fire and medical calls with little effect on how quickly they respond and resources will not be drained in other communities.


North Las Vegas City Manager Tim Hacker said the only change will have private ambulance company MedicWest, which has a contract with the city, responding alone to less serious emergency calls, such as stomach pains and broken bones. That city will not send a firetruck to those calls. The county and Las Vegas will not respond to calls North Las Vegas delegates to the private company.

“It’s going to be different,” Hacker said. “Nobody wants to see a change in service delivery in a negative fashion. We want to see improvement. Just like anyone else, we have to live within our means, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Under the franchise agreement, MedicWest pays North Las Vegas to operate in the city.

“Our perspective is: Very little changes as of July 1,” Hacker said. “Our citizens will be fully served with emergency services. I don’t think there will be much change in who is supporting who.”

Of the 30,000 calls the department responds to annually, about 25,000 are medical. About a quarter of those are not life-threatening calls, Hacker said.

“We won’t dedicate resources to that,” he said. “We’ll dedicate resources to more serious calls.”

Hacker said he has met with fire officials in other jurisdictions to work out the less than 10 percent of calls that are structural fires. The closest department will respond, and discussions are still ongoing.


Jeff Hurley, president of the North Las Vegas Fire Association, said “because services will be drastically cut, it will rob the county and Las Vegas residents” of their services.

“It affects everyone,” Hurley said. “There is a system that works, and when you start taking pieces out it’s going to collapse. These citizens should be outraged.”

The change comes days before the Fourth of July holiday – the busiest day of fire calls of the year. Last year, the department responded to 143 calls, 26 of which were fires.

There are about 150 employees, which falls short of the 230 a city the size of North Las Vegas should have, according to national standards, Hurley said. As workers take vacations or medical leave, that will determine when those stations are open and what equipment can be used. The minimum staffing level will be 24 firefighters per day, when it used to be 53.

The department has 19 fire apparatus, 16 of which are firetrucks or rescue rigs. Five of them will be out of service permanently as of Sunday. At a bare minimum, firefighters will have seven to work with, Hurley said.

“I don’t know how a city of this size can effectively protect citizens with those kinds of cuts,” Hurley said.


County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, whose district includes some of the affected fire stations, cautioned that public safety is not in jeopardy because of finances.

“Taxpayers are concerned because we don’t want those services pulled away from us,” Weekly said. “What if one of our trucks was servicing (North Las Vegas) residents and we needed them? We’d be upset. But people care about people and want to make sure that folks’ lives are OK. We’re all in tough times right now, and we have to band together. I don’t want to panic.”

Weekly added he does not want to get into the middle of the politics and contract disputes between North Las Vegas public safety unions and city officials, who are snarled in litigation after clashing publicly over a City Council vote to suspend parts of labor contracts to cut costs.

County Commissioner Tom Collins, whose district includes North Las Vegas, said the cost-cutting measure “will put a whole bunch of pressure on Clark County” in the city’s business corridor and at the Cannery, a hotel-casino that draws thousands of visitors annually, located on East Craig Road, a busy valley thoroughfare.

“You really create a potential for a lot of harm to public safety in the valley,” Collins said. “If Las Vegas is running into North Las Vegas, they’re slow to respond. It can jeopardize the folks in Las Vegas. I have concerns for the public safety of my constituents, let alone the financial hardship created to the other two entities.”

In a statement Thursday, Las Vegas Fire Chief Mike Myers said the mutual aid agreements in place will offer the support each jurisdiction needs.

Clark County, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas already help each other with calls when asked to do so. That has been operating procedure for decades, and it hasn’t hurt the quality of fire and emergency medical responses by firefighters. But Ryan Beaman, president of the county fire union, said county and Las Vegas fire stations closest to the North Las Vegas border will face the toughest challenge.

County fire stations No. 20, on Judson Avenue, and No. 23, on East Alexander Road, are expected to pick up some calls. Currently, those stations run about 700 calls annually in North Las Vegas.

Beaman said that number could increase to between 2,300 and 5,500 calls a year as a result of the brownouts, but city officials dispute that estimate because of the private ambulance company response.

“If they’re cutting services, we’ll be left to provide it,” Beaman said.

And as units are shifted to cover areas left by firefighters picking up North Las Vegas calls, it will create “a domino effect” that will delay response times, Beaman said.

“We’re strategically placed throughout the valley for a 4-minute response time,” Beaman said. “We’ll still provide services, but citizens are going to be impacted.”

Review-Journal reporter Richard Lake contributed to this report. Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at or 702-455-4519.

Pawn Stars fans visit Richard Harrison Sr.'s memorial
Pawn Stars fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Richard Harrison, ‘The Old Man’ of ‘Pawn Stars’ dies
Richard Harrison, ‘The Old Man’ of ‘Pawn Stars’ has died. He was the patriarch of the Harrison family and the driving force behind the popular History channel program. Harrison’s death was announced this morning on the Gold & Silver Pawn Facebook page. The announcement said Harrison “was surrounded by loving family this past weekend and went peacefully.” He was 77 years old.
Protesters Line Streets for President Trump's Arrival in Las Vegas
Hundreds lined the streets in front of Suncoast to protest President Donald Trump's arrival in Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Thunder Mountain monument stands as a tribute to Native American culture
Caretaker Fred Lewis talks about Thunder Mountain monument in central Nevada, made from concrete and found items. The five-acre site is a tribute to Native Peoples of the West. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New CCSD superintendent Jesus F. Jara aims for 1st in the nation
On his third day as Clark County School District superintendent, Jesus F. Jara talks about his vision for the future during a visit to Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Ceremony Recognizes Refugee Students, Graduates
Rosy Mibulano, a graduate of Las Vegas High School who came to America from the Congo in 2015, was recognized in a ceremony for refugee students in Clark County. Like many other students relocated to Las Vegas from countries around the world, Rosy had a challenging high school experience, from learning English to adjusting to American customs and taking care of her family. On top of that, she wants to go to school to become a nurse so she can take care of her mother, who suffers from diabetes. The annual Refugee Recognition Ceremony celebrates the enormous lengths these young adults go through to create a new life for themselves. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Water leak at Mandalay Bay convention center
The convention center area of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas experienced major flooding Tuesday afternoon. Credit: Melinda Cook
Hollywood Memorabilia Up For Grabs at Las Vegas Auction
Elvis Presley's car, Marilyn Monroe's bras, Han Solo's blaster, and Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" suit are just some of the items that are up for auction at Julien's Auctions at Planet Hollywood June 22 and 23. The auction's viewing room at Planet Hollywood is open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Planet Hollywood. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Springs Preserve Exhibit Shows Off "Nature's Ninjas"
"Nature's Ninjas" arrives at the Springs Preserve, in an exhibit and live show featuring critters that come with natural defenses, from armadillos to snakes, poison dart frogs to scorpions and tarantulas (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CrossRoads of Southern Nevada psychiatric urgent care to open in Las Vegas
Jeff Iverson, who operates the nonprofit sober living facility Freedom House, is opening a private addiction treatment center that will operate a detoxification center and transitional living for substance users trying to recover. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Wayne Newton surprises burglars
Wayne Newton and his wife, Kathleen, arrived at their southeast Las Vegas home shortly before midnight on Wednesday to find two burglars inside their house. The burglars fled and were seen heading north through the property. Las Vegas police quickly set up a perimeter and launched an extensive search of the area, but the suspects were able to escape. It was unclear if the burglars got away with anything of value. Several items, under the watchful eyes of the police, were seen on the ground near the home's main driveway. Neither Newton, nor his wife, were injured. The Newtons were not available for comment.
Police Officers Turn Off Body Cameras
In four separate body camera videos from the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting released Wednesday, officers in a strike team are instructed to turn their body cameras off and comply with the request.
Debra Saunders reports from Singapore
Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent talks about the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
How long will North Korea's denuclearization take?
In Singapore, Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent Debra Saunders asks President Donald Trump how long North Korea's denuclearization will take. White House video.
LVCVA purchase of gift cards hidden
A former LVCVA executive hid the purchase of $90,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards in records at the agency. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, said the money was for promotional events and did not disclose that it was for gift cards. Lawson also instructed Southwest employees to submit invoices without mentioning the purchases were for the cards. More than $50,000 of the cards cannot be accounted for. The convention authority is publicly funded . Lawson recently resigned.
Kim Jong Un visits Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his entourage visited the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore briefly Monday night, local time. (Video by Philip Chope)
Coca-Cola Bottle Purse Has 9,888 Diamonds
Designer Kathrine Baumann and jeweler Aaron Shum set the Guinness World Record for most diamonds (9,888) set on a handbag. The Coca Cola bottle-shaped purse was on display at the Coca Cola Store on the Strip. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sentosa Island a pleasure resort with a pirate past
The site of Tuesday's U.S.-North Korea summit is known for theme parks and resorts. But before that, it was known as a pirate island. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge Sandra Pomrenze's comment about girl's hair
Nevada Races Full of Women From Both Sides
It's already been a historic election season for women in politics. Record numbers of women are running for political office all over the country - including Nevada. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
East Las Vegas home damaged by fire
Clark County Fire Department crews responded to a house fire in east Las Vegas Thursday morning. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
911 call: Mom tries to get to son shot at Route 91
A woman stuck on the interstate during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, tries to get to her son. 911 call released by Las Vegas police.
Las Vegas 911 caller reports people shot on Oct. 1
A 911 caller on Oct. 1, 2017, reports several people shot at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
911 call from woman under stage in Las Vegas shooting
A 911 call from a woman underneath the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival during the Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooting.
LVCVA facing scandal over gift cards
LVCVA is facing a growing scandal over airline gift cards. LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned.
Siblings separated in the foster care system get a day together
St. Jude's Ranch for Children and Cowabunga Bay Cares program partnered to bring 75 siblings together for the day to play on the water slides and in the pools at the Henderson water park. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pawn Stars fans visit Richard Harrison Sr.'s memorial
Pawn Stars fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like