MOUNT VERNON - Firefighters in Mount Vernon say they want additional manpower to keep all of the city’s firehouses open.

The city, with a population of 68,000 people, has four firehouses that cover 4.4 square miles.

Until recently, when a firefighter called in sick, the shorthanded firehouse was limited to what kind of calls they could respond to.

The union says that now the city will just shut down the entire firehouse for the day and send the leftover firefighters to another firehouse.

Fire Commissioner Noah Lighty admits his budget is stretched, but says no firehouses have been closed. He also assures residents that they are safe.

The union says it needs 12 more firefighters to keep all the firehouses open. The cost to the city would be $600,000.

The commissioner tells News 12 that he's discussing hiring additional firefighters with Mayor Ernie Davis.  If so, there could be a class in September.