Budget cuts ravage Lorain Fire Department - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Budget cuts ravage Lorain Fire Department

LORAIN, OH (WOIO) -

The budget deficit in Lorain is hitting hard.

Friday marked the start of Chris Conrad’s final shift as a Lorain firefighter. The 22-year-old was laid off after five years on the job.

“I’ve been kind of expecting it could happen in the back of my mind, but (the fact) that it's happening is surreal. It still settling in,” he said.

Union president Ken Shawver said morale is really low.

“(It’s) not just the guys getting laid off but the guys that will still be here because now we all took an oath to try to do our job and with fewer resources, fewer men -- it's going to be impossible,” he said.

Shawver said one station will close down completely, and response times will double for some parts of town.

The fact that firefighters made $500,000 in concessions hoping to avoid layoffs is frustrating, Shawver said.

"We came forward and offered what other departments wouldn't,” he said.

The layoffs come as City Hall deals with a $3.5 million deficit.

The mayor could not be reached for comment.

“I don’t have a job,” Conrad said. “I have to figure out what to do for my family and myself. It's different.”

The only hope now is for a special federal grant to come through. If that happens, all of the firefighters go back to work. But for now, layoffs are the reality.

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