Protest planned as Lorain firefighters work shorthanded

Protest planned as Lorain firefighters work shorthanded

LORAIN, OH (WOIO) - The Lorain Fire Department is going into its second day down 22 firefighters.

The city laid off the firefighters while grappling with a $3.5 million deficit.

Cleveland 19 News checked into how the first day went with 22 firefighters laid off in Lorain.

They could be put to the test on a busy 4th of July long weekend.

Some firefighter uniforms now sit untouched in fire stations across Lorain.

Firefighter and union vice president Brett Brown won't be putting his on anytime soon.

He's one of 22 firefighters who lost their jobs.

"We have 22 great guys, some with college degrees, a lot of combat veterans that served in Afghanistan and Iraq, a lot of guys that came back here to build a family," Brown said.

Brown says he'll manage, but he's worried about some of the other guys.

"I mean we'll get through it. Anything in life, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade," he said.

The firefighter cuts saved the city $1.4 million.

On Sunday, only one out of four fire stations was open.

And only two trucks were running with nine firefighters on staff.

On Saturday, firefighters say a call on the south side of the city took 13 minutes to get to, instead of three minutes.

"If it is a house fire, that extra 10 minutes could be fatal," said Local 267 union president Ken Shawver.

"Literally the administration is playing with fire. 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," he said.

The Lorain Fire Department has applied for a $3 million grant from the federal government that could be used over two years.

They find out in September if they get the grant. If they get it, many of these jobs could be restored.

City workers are now taking furloughs and many of them have Friday afternoons off until September.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Lorain has just over 64,000 residents.

They now have 48 firefighters in the city.

If you live in Lorain and you're concerned about the layoffs, the union recommends you write or call your city council member or the mayor.

Lorain firefighters who lost their jobs plan to picket outside of City Hall this Tuesday starting at 5 p.m.

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