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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded a $3 million dollar grant to the Montgomery Fire and Rescue department.
This is the first of it's kind and largest that is specifically going to recruit and retain more firefighters over the next two years.
Montgomery Public Safety Director Chris Murphy says the department can now add 20 more firefighters.
Murphy says this grant couldn't have come at a better time because now trucks can be more equipped. He says those big two ladder trucks sometimes only have three firefighters, instead of the usual four responders sent out.
"We were getting ready to do a small recruiting class this year, but this will allow us to significantly increase that recruiting class so with the 10 that we were in the process of hiring because of retirements and things like that. It will take us from 430 to about 450, a huge jump," Murphy said.
"So the more firefighters you have, it's safer for us and also creates more manpower that we may be able to do our duties as firefighters on the scene of a fire," Lieutenant Kenneth Jones said.
Murphy says they hope to have some of those new firefights in the old Montgomery mall. He says progress is steadily being made and the new station
Murphy says the mayor signed the construction contract this week. Murphy is hopeful it will be ready by the end of the year.
Murphy says this grant will look good when it's time for the department's ranking re-evaluation. Right now it stands at a high ranking of two.