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Firefighter layoffs begin as grant expires

Posted at 10:34 PM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 22:34:53-05

Three Ft. Myers firefighters were let go as a federal grant funding their positions expired.  One other firefighter retired, and another transferred to a different department, according to a city official.

The city reapplied for the FEMA grant, but it was not awarded to the department for 2018.

"Unfortunately that is a very competitive process," Chief John Caufield told 4-in-your-corner in December.

Caufield was not available for comment Wednesday.  He told 4-in-your-corner in December the layoffs would hurt the department.

"Laying somebody off, is not something that should be taken lightly. It's a big deal, it's a big deal to the fire department."

But city spokesperson Stephanie Schaffer told 4-in-your corner in a statement:

"All fire department stations are open and properly staffed. Additionally, over the past year the department has increased its minimum on-duty staff from 21 to 25."

4-in-your corner reached out to the firefighter's union for comment on this story, but did not hear back Wednesday.