Anytime you lessen manpower, the chance for accidents and everything, it rises,” said Gary Fire Captain and Union President Raynard Robinson.
Firefighter Eric Acevedo is one of 30 firefighters citywide to get a layoff letter. He got his today.
“It is crushing,” he said, adding it was always his dream to fight fires and he thought it would be a secure job.
Gary officials say a budget crisis made the cuts unavoidable.
Fire Chief Jeff Ward says he fought for his firefighters but the decision came down from above. He says more than 50 firefighters were originally on the chopping block, but they got that number down to 30.
But firefighters say the loss of more than a tenth of the department citywide causes real safety concerns for firefighters and Gary residents.
Chief Ward says he is hopeful a federal safety grant might save those jobs for another two years, but they are waiting to hear if they will get that money.
Some firefighters wonder if other city positions, like that of Deputy Mayor, could have been cut to save firefighter jobs.
The Gary Fire Department in action from an Edward Malik video.