WASHINGTON (Oct. 17)—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is laying off 450 workers indefinitely at its Decatur, Ill., tire manufacturing facility, as well as scheduling production curtailments totaling four weeks over the next two months at Decatur, LaVergne, Tenn., and Oklahoma City. Bridgestone/Firestone CEO John T. Lampe called the layoffs "an extremely difficult decision" but said they were necessary as an inventory control issue. Inventory buildup in anticipation of a strike, plus decreased demand for Firestone tires and a shifting market trend to larger tires, were behind the decision, according to Lampe. None of the tire sizes being used as replacements in the recall will be affected by the production cuts, he added. "Completing the recall is our highest priority," said Lampe, who said the company has now replaced more than 4.2 million tires and expects to complete the full recall of 6.5 million tires by the end of November. "We are committed to rebuilding the Firestone organization and brand, but in order to keep that promise, we must be financially strong and viable," he added.