Laid off Helena Firefighters get jobs back thanks to federal grant

HELENA (WBRC) - Twelve Helena firefighters who were previously laid off due to poor economic conditions will soon get their jobs back thanks to $566,370 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant is specifically designed to recruit and retain firefighters in rapidly growing areas. The federal grant aims to allow fire departments to "attain and maintain 24-hour staffing and to assure that their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards," according to a release from U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus.    

"Our fire departments are at the heart of their communities. It is critical for the protection of citizens, as well as the safety of firefighters, that they have the personnel and resources to do their job well," Bachus said. "The Helena Fire Department is to be commended for receiving this significant grant, and it is great news to start a new year."

Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale says due to a combination of factors, the timing of this funding was ideal.

"This grant will benefit the safety and well-being of the citizens of Helena," Penhale said.
The combination of very significant growth in recent years along with tough economic times means this grant could not come at a better time."

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.