Fire Chief Norman C. Richardson said yesterday that he would be forced to close two of the city's 33 fire stations to conform to a tentative $1 million budget reduction proposed by City Administrator Elijah B. Rogers.
Richardson told a session of the City Council's Judiciary Committee that the department will recommend that Rogers approve closing fire stations at 439 New Jersey Ave. NW and 2119 G St. NW.
Rogers said yesterday he met will all the city's department heads on Monday and gave each a target figure for budget reductions to offset a $60 million projected city budget deficit this year. Rogers declined to reveal the specific reductions for various departments, but said he hoped to decide on final amounts by the end of the week.
Richardson said that to meet the $1 million target suggested by Rogers, he would have to close the two stations and reduce other functions such as fire protection and community relations.
"In view of the city's entire budget posture, I don't see how we can escape cuts," Richardson said. The department's budget for the current fiscal year is $41.6 million, he said. The two firehouses targeted for closing cost the city about $1.2 million a year.
Richardson said the neighborhoods served by the two stations could be adequately handled by other units in the vicinity. A spokesman for the department said the firehouses closest to the two slated for closing are at 1300 New Jersey Ave. NW and 2225 M St. NW. Both are about seven blocks from the stations that would be closed.
Richardson said he did not know when the stations would be closed if Rogers approves the closures, but added that the action would have to be taken soon to save a significant amount of money in the current fiscal year.
None of the approximately 40 firefighters would be laid off, he said. They would be transferred to help fill some of vacancies in the department, which number about 80.
Richardson also was asked during the hearing about the department's fireboat, which costs more than $411,000 a year to operate and which answered only 35 legitimate calls for help during the 1980 fiscal year.
Committee Chairman David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1) and council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large) suggested that the department might get rid of the boat and channel the money into the city's ambulance service.
But despite Kane's assertions that there appeared to be no real need for the fireboat, Richardson said he believed the city needs the equipment to guard against major waterfront fires.