22 Ohio firefighters laid off over budget deficit
The city now has only 48 firefighters and one of four stations operating
LORAIN, Ohio — Over 22 firefighters were laid off Saturday in a city effort to close a $3.6 million deficit.
According to ABC5, the city has only one fire station and two trucks running; prior to the layoffs, seven trucks were in use.
“For us it’s disastrous … it’s crippling to us. When were fully staffed in maybe my second year, he had 98 guys here, now we’re down to 48, and that’s 50 guys over less than 20 years,” Lorain Fire Department Lt. Dan Russell said.
The city has four stations, but only one remains open, reported FOX8.
“It makes it more dangerous for the firefighters who are still working and for the residents,” union President Ken Shawver said.
Apart from the layoffs themselves, firefighters are concerned about delayed response times an understaffed department may face. Firefighters said it took them 13 minutes to get to a call Saturday, when it should have taken only three.
“Literally the administration is playing with fire,” union Vice President and firefighter Brett Brown told WOIO. “Maybe not today or tomorrow, we’ll have something catastrophic, but eventually it’s gonna happen. And with a crew this size, we’re not going to be able to do what we’re expected to do.”
The department has applied for a $3 million federal grant that could restore the jobs; they will find out if they receive the grant in September.