Detroit to get $22.5 million grant; saves 100 firefighter jobs

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DETROIT – On Monday, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing held out hope that the city would receive a federal grant that could help save the jobs of 108 Detroit firefighters. On Wednesday, Michigan Senator Carl Levin announced that the city would be awarded the grant that will help prevent the Detroit Fire Department from having to lay off more than 100 firefighters.

Detroit will receive a $22.5 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response – SAFER – Program. Bing announced Monday that the city plans to lay off 164 firefighters by the end of July, but the grant could possibly restore 108 of those

“It is vital that we maintain the fire protection our citizens need, even during times of tight budgets,” Levin said in a statement. “This grant will help keep firefighters on the job and protecting the people of Detroit.”

DFD currently has 881 firefighters and 248 paramedics. The city hopes that the remaining 56 firefighters who are guaranteed to lose their jobs will be brought back as the department loses others to retirement and general attrition.

“For as long as we’ve been fighting fires in the city of Detroit, we have guaranteed that if you call us, we will come,” Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, said on Monday. “If these cuts remain, there will be times when we won’t have the necessary resources to respond. We have a disaster waiting to happen that will likely result in not only the loss of property, but potentially the loss of lives.”

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