Laid-Off Firefighters Want to Pump Your Stomach with Booze

This man can douse your burning liver.
This man can douse your burning liver.

First they were employed. Then they were told they'd be laid off. Then they learned their jobs would be saved ... but only after they lost them. Now they're unemployed. But not for long.

Confused yet? So are we. This calls for a drink!

This afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m., 30 recently laid-off St. Louis firefighters will be applying their pumping skills to keg lines and soda guns, serving as guest bartenders and waiters at Lafayette Fire Company No. 1.

Don't expect it to be a morose scene. The firefighters, who will formally be laid off at the end of the day, will almost certainly be rehired again, most likely by the end of the week. It's all part of a $3.2 million federal grant issued by the Department of Homeland Security that will soon be delivered to the city, in order to save impending layoffs due to budgetary constraints.

As a technicality, the grant can only be accepted after layoffs actually occur, so once the money is delivered to city, the Fire Department will quickly go through a re-hire phase. Chris Molitor, head of the local firefighter's union, tells Gut Check that, barring any unforeseen surprises, the grant should be awarded by Friday.

So what do you do when you're an out-of-work bum, albeit for only a day or two? Spend it in the bar, apparently. And if you swing by tonight, your money will go toward a good cause. All donations will help build a new home for Marine Corporal Todd Nicely, a native of Arnold and one of only three living quadruple-amputee veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On March 26 last year, Nicely lost his arms and legs after stepping on an I.E.D.

On May 27, Gary Sinise will bring his Lt. Dan Band to the St. Charles Family Arena for a benefit performance for Nicely. For more information, visit, or swing by the bar tonight.

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