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Chico fire receives grant to hire more firefighters

Published On: Jan 25 2014 01:10:27 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 25 2014 01:13:16 AM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

The Chico Fire Department received some much needed funding from the federal government to hire more firefighters to protect the city.

Chico fire received the grant Friday afternoon from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The grant will allow the department to hire five additional firefighters bringing the total to 15 firefighters on staff each day for two years plus benefits.

With the new addition, Engine One in downtown Chico would be re-staffed. It serves the highest risk and density area in the city.

Engine Three will be used at the airport. It was shut down in July from budget cuts.

Chico fire has been strategically closing fire stations around the city.

"With this increase in staffing, we will be able to significantly reduce the amount of days we are strategically closing those stations," said Chico Fire Division Chief, Bill Hack. "It will be essential for us; especially, with this upcoming fire season which is predicted to be extreme."

Last year, the department operated with 14 firefighters, 3 engines, one truck, and one aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle. That's half of what the department had in 2008.

In 2012, daily staffing was cut 36 percent from 2008, and the number of calls increased 38 percent.

The city council still has to approve the federal grant. Chico fire is trying quickly to get on the February 4th agenda so they can start hiring new firefighters.