Letter: What happens if firefighters can’t afford Asheville?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I recently listened to excerpts of the narratives by Asheville Fire Department employees to the City Council. One after another, these professionals spoke of being paid less than the cost of living in the community they serve.

Each of these individuals [is] fully trained and fully skilled to save our lives and to put out fires that would damage our lifestyles. Each presenter documented how, at their current rate of pay, their plan to live and thrive in Asheville is going up in flames. As other Asheville firefighters have done, many of them will have to find higher-paying jobs in their chosen craft in another community or make a complete career switch.

My question is: Without a level of monetary compensation that provides a living wage, when these individuals for good reason leave the department and their position is vacated, what else will go up in flames?

— Richard Boyum


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2 thoughts on “Letter: What happens if firefighters can’t afford Asheville?

  1. Bright

    Asheville can give always give tourists a discount on their hotel costs by letting them be “on call” for firefighting whilst in this impoverished city.

  2. Hiram

    The main reason that essential workers can’t afford to live here is the carnage that tourism has inflicted on the long-term housing market. Money, money, everywhere. And not a drop to drink…

    “Researchers have found that short-term rentals have taken 2,500 homes off the rental market in Los Angeles and increased rents $810 per year for the average L.A. household. They’re also responsible for more people becoming homeless in L.A. each night.”

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