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Residents say Friday’s fire is the reason firefighters need a raise

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There was still a lot of uncertainty when it came to raises for Memphis firefighters.

The Memphis firefighters Association said it would weigh all of its options if firefighters don't get the two percent raise they asked for.

WREG spent a lot of time in a neighborhood in Southeast Shelby County where firefighters were battling a fire Friday morning.

One neighbor said what she saw was just one of many reasons firefighters deserve a raise.

Tresa Whitehorn made the 911 call when she saw smoke coming from a home next door on the 7200 block of Old Farm Road.

Luckily no one was home.

Four firefighters were hurt, including a Memphis firefighter.

Crews told Whitehorn if she didn`t make that 911 call it could have been a lot worse.

“They encountered very high temperatures from the fire that was well seen and stayed on it. A couple of them received minor facial burns because the temperature, we were told, was just about 1,000 degrees up there,” said Brent Perkins; public information officer for Shelby County Fire Department.

Firefighters said it`s one of the hottest fires they have encountered in a couple of years.

Whitehorn believed situations like Friday proved they should get the pay raise City Council approved earlier this week.

“If we didn`t have that kind of coverage, if those guys leave because they don`t have the raises that they deserve, then it could have been my house. It would have been my house six minutes longer. It would have been my house,” Whitehorn explained.

“The citizens spoke. The City Council wrote the referendum and the Impasse ordinance says if the City council upholds the package then they will fund it. Flip side of the coin, if we lost, we would`t be down there looking for any additional funding ,” said Joe Norman with the Memphis Firefighters Association.

Norman said if they don`t get the money they’ll take action.

“We`ll have to explore all the options. The amount of money the firefighters are asking for is minimal,” he replied.

City leaders told WREG this week it sounds like most of the council would like to give firefighters a raise but finding the money will be difficult.

The council will take up this issue again next week.