By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
SAPULPA, OK -- The city of Sapulpa is handing out pink slips to its firefighters, one week after the union agreed to nearly $390,000 in concessions.
The city says the bad economy is still taking its toll and cuts are needed across the board. But the firefighters say they've already taken a hit and are worried the move will put citizens' lives at risk.
Sapulpa firefighters respond to a Tuesday morning call for help. A busy day for first responders who are dealing with the news that four of their fellow firefighters may soon lose their job.
"I was shocked," said Ryan Daniels, a Sapulpa firefighter.
"Frustrating, disappointing," Darin Groom said. "It's been going on for a long time."
"It's frustrating to think the city can't find money for public safety," said Chase Johnson, another firefighter.
"This is actually a 30 day notice," said David Taylor, Firefighter's Union President. "This is the notice that the guys got."
The city manager wouldn't talk with the News On 6 on camera but in the 30 day notice he told the union the city is trying to close a near $2 million shortfall in this year's budget and that a reduction of force appears necessary, but that the move could be a temporary measure.
"I'm still a little shocked, I wasn't expecting it," Daniels said.
Ryan Daniels is one of those firefighters who may be looking for a new job. He's worried about those prospects, but most of all he's sad he may be saying goodbye to his calling.
"It's my livelihood," he said.
In addition to the loss of jobs, the union is worried the city may also close a fire station and they believe it's station number 2 that's on the chopping block.
"If they close this station down it's going to add anywhere from four to ten minutes on a run time to get to somebody's house that needs help," Johnson said.
The union says it will keep talking with the city and the men who are about to be on the unemployment line say they'll hope for the best.
"I mean I'm nervous but I know our guys will fight, fight for our job, Daniels said. "It's not over."
The city says it needed the fire department to cut a total of $500,000 from its budget and the layoffs are necessary because the union only agreed to $389,000 in concessions last week.