NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Newark’s fire chief said he’s retiring on Oct. 1, partly out of worry that a shrinking department will mean compromised safety for firefighters.

Chief Michael Lalor said he’s concerned that the city was trying to do “more with less” and told The Star-Ledger of Newark that he fears a coming reduction in manpower will result in safety problems.

Thirty-one other fire department officers were retiring on the same day, and close to 30 more said they’ll retire by the end of the year.

The exodus came as the department faced 96 layoffs and 22 demotions over the next two years.

City spokeswoman Esmeralda Diaz Cameron said the city will maintain adequate fire protection.

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