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Johnson City Fire Department to receive nearly $1 million to help hire new firefighters

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JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) -- Over $12 million in funding is going to five different fire departments around New York State to hire new firefighters, and over $900,000 of it is going to the Village of Johnson City.

The department will receive the money from FEMA's SAFER grant program which stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.

Johnson City Fire Marshall Bob Blakeslee said the money will be a big help to the department.

"We're a smaller village, money is at a premium and we do everything we can to try and keep the tax burden low on everybody," Fire Marshall Bob Blakeslee said.

Blakeslee said this money will help bring new recruits in and the department will have the most people on shift than it has in the last decade.

"Being able to have extra personnel on the engines to a point where we can operate safely, not only at fires but being able to have the manning power to respond to medical emergencies when people call," Blakeslee said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced the funding and praised the efforts that firefighters have given during the pandemic.

“These courageous first responders deserve all the federal support possible to help them do their jobs. I will always fight to bring more federal resources to support our brave firefighters, and I’m proud to deliver this funding," Schumer said.

“I will continue fighting for funding to ensure that our fire departments have what they need to remain adequately staffed, respond quickly to emergencies, and stay safe on the front lines,” Sen. Gillibrand said.

In response, Blakeslee said it means a lot knowing they're getting help.

The Fire Marshall estimated that it will take until about Spring 2022 to get the new firefighters in the doors and fully trained to where they need to be.

The other Villages and Towns that received funding in New York are Albany, Syracuse, Auburn, and the Town of Lagrange.

Jack Cooper

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