Warren firefighters grant to expire, union braces for challenges - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Warren firefighters grant to expire, union braces for challenges

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WARREN, Ohio - The jobs of 15 Warren firefighters are at risk when a federal grant runs dry at the end of May.

The firefighters' union is hoping the city can shore up enough money from its budget to continue to pay their trained rescuers. 

John Jerina, International Association of Firefighters Local 204 union president, says the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant glued the department back together after layoffs in the past.

"Right now, we have 25 [firefighters] a shift, depending on the number," Jerina says. "Last time they took us down to 11 and that's detrimental to our members and to the safety of the citizens."

Jerina has not yet discussed the numbers with city hall, but a meeting between the union and city officials is scheduled later this week.

In a meeting Tuesday, Mayor William Franklin said he would do his best to find money to maintain staffing levels.

"Our immediate goal is to see where we can find money in the budget to save as many of those firefighters as we can from layoffs," Franklin said.

Jerina worries how the workload will be divved up if layoffs take place when the $4.9 million grant expires in about three months. He said having less people is challenging on their senior department.

"We have young guys that are hired under the SAFER [Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response] grant,"Jerina says. "We lose them, we start getting to an older age and this is a young man's job."

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