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Fire

AFD, union still at odds over interlocal agreement

Bob Nicks, president of the Austin Firefighters Association, and Austin Fire Chief Joel Baker are locked in a battle over whether the city should sign on to a new mutual aid agreement with emergency services districts in both Travis and…

Wildfire audit update shows more work ahead

After hearing a new report from the Office of the City Auditor on Austin’s wildfire response efforts, Council Member Alison Alter said while the report lays out appropriate next steps for the city to take, those steps are probably not…

Zoning and Platting Commission weighs in on proposed fire code

As Austin weathers the dog days of summer, wildfire risk is once again a hot topic in the city. A new report this week by the Office of the City Auditor said that the city could be doing a better…

AFD under fire for handling of sexual harassment claim despite policy updates

After Austin Fire Department Lieutenant James Baker pleaded guilty to hiding a camera and filming firefighter Kelly Gall in the fire station restroom, AFD revised its harassment policies and implemented the Electronic and Anonymous Reporting System. EARS is intended to…

Two firefighters fired over 'theft' of exam

Fire Chief Joel Baker has fired two firefighters, Nicholas Schroeder and Anthony Stewart, who were attending classes on handling hazardous materials, after Schroeder allegedly stole a copy of the final exam and Stewart took photos of it. The class was…

2019: AFD’s new chief prioritizes communication

After just over five months with an interim chief, the Austin Fire Department finally has a permanent leader. As the year winds down, Joel Baker assumes his role as fire chief at the department amid an environment of transition and…

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megafire

'Mega-fires' are real, but their size is anyone's guess

When representatives from the Austin Fire Department spoke at the last meeting of the Public Safety Commission, they alluded to a “mega-fire” they said was imminent in West Austin. Although the term may sound alarming, Justice Jones, wildfire mitigation program…

Rising insurance costs reignite push for new fire stations in Austin

Homeowners in a Del Valle suburb learned last month that their insurance rates could go up as much as $1,000 this year because they’re too far from the nearest fire station. Concerns about the rising rates have jump-started a push…

Lack of fire station pushes some insurance rates up

Some Southeast Austin homeowners have been receiving bad news from their insurance companies – the rates on their homeowners insurance are projected to rise as much as $1,000 this year. District 2 Council Member Delia Garza told her colleagues at…

AFD aims to weigh in on developments sooner rather than later

The Austin Fire Department could soon start reviewing individual development plans much earlier in the process than it currently does. Fire Marshal Rob Vires told the Public Safety Commission at its Jan. 8 special called meeting about ongoing discussions to…

Firefighters union touts increased diversity

Austin is far from having a fire department that reflects the diversity of the city, but it’s made significant strides since the U.S. Department of Justice sued the Austin Fire Department over its hiring practices. Days after clashing with a…

Council OKs firefighters' contract 7-3

City Council approved a five-year contract with the Austin Firefighters Association Thursday on a vote of 7-3, after a heated exchange between Council Member Ora Houston and Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks. Houston criticized the firefighters association for not…

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