LORAIN - Frustration is building in the city as more than 20 firefighters have been laid off and no one seems to know when they will return to work.
Firefighters were planning to be at Tuesday's council meeting to address this issue and laid their uniforms on City Hall steps in a sign of solidarity.
"The layoffs are Increasing our response times," said Firefighter Union President Ken Shawver.
More than 20 firefighters were laid off Friday as Lorain City leaders deal with a $3.6 million deficit. Firefighters said the layoffs pose a safety issues for both firefighters and residents.
The department now has less than 50 firefighters and has closed three of the city's four stations. "It is so frustrating for us because we want to do a good job; we want to help people and with these layoffs it makes it difficult," Shawver said.
A city councilman says he too is frustrated. "I received several calls from residents all weekend," said Councilman Angel Arroyo. " The residents are angry."
And 26-year-old Eric Seitz of Lorain says he believes the city has to do something soon to bring back the firefighters. The city has applied for a federal grant. If approved the city would then have the funds to bring back the laid off firefighters.
At Tuesday night's city council meeting, Mayor Chase Rittenauer said he's hopeful a federal grant will be approved, so they can immediately start bringing firefighters back.
He thought they would've known by May or June and he is now continually trying to get answers.
"I’m exhausting every contact I have with the federal government," said Rittenauer.
But Firefighters say what if the answer is no? Their union has taken a half million dollars in concessions.
Another council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday July 12th at 5:30 where they will be discussing budget and financial issues.