San Diego lifeguards consider separating from fire department

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SAN DIEGO — There are 100 lifeguards working full-time for the city of San Diego and 200 more work on a seasonal basis. Most of them attended a meeting Wednesday night in Mission Bay to consider separating from the San Diego Fire Department.

In recent weeks, lifeguards say they have noticed more and more firefighters taking over duties normally handled by lifeguards.

Lifeguard union representative Sergeant Ed Harris has said Fire Chief Brian Fennessy is trying to push lifeguards out of a job.

Lifeguards believe separating from the fire department may be their best option to secure their jobs.

“They’re looking at their job, these duties as their livelihood. They’re concerned, very concerned, enough that they want to discuss leaving the fire department for our own department,” Harris said.

Harris said they have already met with Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office and hope he will step in and resolve the issue. Otherwise, they say they will take up the matter with the entire city council and possibly push for their own department.

Fennessy was not in his office Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson for the fire department told FOX 5 Fennessy is the only person who can address concerns shared by lifeguards.

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