Those firefighters are accused of falsifying mileage used to reimburse them for driving their personal vehicles to inspections. Chicago's inspector general recommended terminating those 54 positions, which is about half of the Fire Prevention Bureau.
Records show the alleged fraud cost Chicago taxpayers more than $100,000 in 2009, but may have been going on for several years.
"It's not just a personnel issue," Mayor Emanuel said. "It's a central issue. And I've directed Commissioner Hoff to deal with it- roots and all."
A Chicago Fire Department spokesman says there's an internal investigation into the matter.