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39 Waterford Firefighters Laid Off After Federal Funding Expires

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP (WWJ) - Nearly 40 firefighters are being laid off in Waterford Township, as a federal grant that paid their salaries runs dry.

The 39 firefighters were hired in April of 2013 under a FEMA grant that wasn't renewed this year.

There's not enough revenue to cover the gap, township officials say, so Waterford will have to consolidate from four firefighters per truck to two. They also say Waterford Township Fire Station 4, on Williams Lake Road, may have to close from time to time due to the cuts.

Among local residents and business owners not happen to hear about it is Judy Newman, who owns Happy Tails Pet Grooming.

"This is the busiest fire department I've ever seen," she told WWJ's Ron Dewey. "They're running all the time, every day — for accidents, peoples'...whatever their problem is. And lives are in jeopardy! They gotta get there. They can't be shutting it down."

Carlos Gonzalez of Gonzalez Boxing. just up the street from Fire Station 4, is also concerned.

"Now we're not going to have enough fire department people, firemen, to combat what's going on in here," he said. "And those guys stay busy. They're involved with the community and it's not a good thing; it's not a good feeling...But it is what it is right now."

Firefighters union Local 1335 president Damon Harney told WDIV-TV response times likely will be delayed due to the loss in manpower.

"As you can probably assume that does not sit well with us," he said.

Thursday will be the laid off firefighters' last day on the job.

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