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Layoff of 34 firefighters in Gary, Indiana. More than 10% of department let go.

From WBBM-TV:

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.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    DCFEMS is next!!!!

  • 7Miller7

    What this story doesn’t mention and neither do the 2 local papers, is that the city is preparing to hire more cops. They already bought 15 or so brand new cruisers. Some people are trying to maintain the fire department it had in the 1950s but without the revenue it had back then, it just isn’t possible. The city needs to declare bankruptcy, allow the state to finally step in and straighten out the mess. The mayor was offered a great deal by the steel mill to buy new rigs but they walked away when he asked for them to hand over the money & let him make the purchases. Dont get me started on the union “president” Raynard Robinson, he’s just a yes man for the mayor as long as he gets to keep his job. Things are beyond bad in Gary. He still thinks station 6 is open despite it being closed years ago. Makes Detroit look good! This isn’t news to anyone that lives in Gary & unfortunately no one has really paid much attention until recently & like many others, will be forgotten within a week.

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  • 32YearVeteran

    It is readily apparent that the Gary Fire Chief doesn’t have a clue as related to manpower affecting safety of both the firefighters as well as the citizens they serve. He should have been at the CFD funerals to remind himself of the obligation he also has to the firefighters of Gary. I just pray the God watches over the Gary Fire Department because the Mayor and Fire Chief surely will not.

  • Mr618

    “Some firefighters wonder if other city positions, like that of Deputy Mayor, could have been cut to save firefighter jobs.”

    What a silly question!

    Of COURSE the deputy mayor can’t be laid off. The deputy mayor fulfills a vital function in city government, namely… ummm… err… oh, yeah, playing mayor when the real mayor is away playing somewhere else. And all those lazy firefighters do is sit around the firehouse, making chili, playing checkers and snapping their suspenders.

    What EVERY frickin’ politician needs is to spend a full week working — WORKING, not ‘observing’ — in each department he/she/it oversees. Now, certainly we’re not going to send an untrained mayor into a burning building at risk of collapse (tempting though it may be), but let him stand twenty feet away, humping hose, carrying ladders, dragging bodies to the curb. Let him move a couple of tons of dirt with a shovel with the road crew, let him empty garbage cans with sanitation, let him scrape teenagers off the pavement with the cops.

    Then ask about reducing staffing.

    • Bob

      I think you’re right.. we need “Undercover Boss” for elected officials. That’s an excellent idea!

      Oh, and “And all those lazy firefighters do is sit around the firehouse, making chili, playing checkers and snapping their suspenders.” made me laugh hard enough to snort hot coffee. Thanks. ;)

  • GFD Fighter

    In regards to previous commenter’s, In 1986 Gary FD Staffing was nearly 350 positions deep. These spots have been given up through attrition at a steady rate, as the population decreased. Unfortunately calls for service have remained steady, and the area of coverage has not decreased either. Also not mentioned is the fact the contract expired 5 years ago, the city refuses to negotiate and salary/benefit concessions have been made over the years. This situation is going to be a disaster.

  • john

    7Miller7

    Not sure where you got your information, but they are not hiring any addtional cops. The two cops that I know also thinks its crazy to lay off fireman

  • Steve in NJ

    This is yet another example of a city government that has been mismanaged for many years by incompetent ego maniac politicians and all their buddies they appoint to city government positions. These politicians have had a hard-on for firefighter unions and our collective bargaining rights forever and are now using “the economy” as an excuse to stick it up our ass. Makes me want to sing the Star Spangled Banner and wave the flag. God Bless America!

  • Dean27wood

    Well said 32 Year Vet.