The Cleveland Fire Department said goodbye to 51 firefighters who were laid off Tuesday following the city's decision to decline a $4.5 million SAFER grant that would have spared them, according to WJW-TV.
"Another sad day," Cleveland Firefighter Dave Renick told the news station as he turned in his gear. "A lot of us have bought houses and started a family and going through this all over again when it could have been prevented."
Like many other of his fellow firefighters, Renick is being laid off for the second time.
He is optimistic that he and his colleagues will be rehired yet again, but knows it could take a while.
"I think we will, but it's probably going to be another six months to a year," he said.
Secretary of the Cleveland Firefighters Association, Michael Norman, said the circumstances make the layoffs even harder to take.
"It's just disappointing that the city had an opportunity," he said. "We worked hard to try to come up with a package that would be amenable to the city and they weren't interested in it."
City officials argued that while the grant would have paid to save the jobs of 31 firefighters, the city would have still been on the hook for the other 20.
While fire department officials said they could come up with the money needed through budget cuts of their own, the mayor's office said that wasn't good enough.