CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -

Bill Soqui, the fire chief of Cathedral City's fire department, will be laid off at the end of June as the city council tries to balance its budget.

City Council member Greg Pettis told KESQ and CBS Local 2 Soqui's position is being eliminated and his job duties will be shared by the two battalion chiefs.

Soqui learned of the news this week when he was also told he would have to give pink slips to 15 other fire department workers to help bridge an $8 million budget gap.

Their departures will also close one of the city's three fire stations.

Soqui warned the city council at this week's public hearing that closing the station and eliminating emergency personnel would endanger the residents of Cathedral City.