Wednesday , June 19 2024

Fresno to Hire New Firefighters for First Time in Eight Years

After years of budget cuts, the Fresno Fire department is looking to rebuild.  For the first time in nearly a decade, the department is hiring firefighters.  The application period officially opened Monday and about a dozen positions are looking to be filled. 

Fire officials say the department is busier than ever fighting fires, saying this year could actually be a record breaker when it comes to fire damage in the city.

It’s one of the busiest and most aggressive fire departments in the nation.  On any give shift, Fresno city firefighters can expect to fight at least one blaze.  For many years, because of budget cuts and slashed positions, they’ve been doing more with less.

Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis says, “The issue isn’t necessarily the first fire.  Our companies can get there and our response times are very good.  It’s the second fire that occurs doing the same period of time where we don’t have the resources.”

The resources are slowly making a comeback.

“For the first time in almost eight years we get to hire firefighters,” says Chief Donis.

At least 12 firefighters will be joining the department and they will have experience.

Chief Donis says, “We’re asking for those folks that have a minimum of two years with a municipal fire department and currently working.  They have to be at least an EMT.”

The positions will be funded for two years, by a $2.6 million federal grant.  After the two year period, the city will take over.

Fresno City Manager Bruce Rudd says, “When this grant expires we are committed to sustaining those firefighters.”

Chief Donis says the new hires will eventually create a new fire company; staffing three additional firefighters per day, but first they will start in the relief pool- relieving other firefighters when they need time off.

Fresno City Fire Fighter Local 753 president Pete Flores says he hopes that will happen sooner than later.

“it’s good to have a little bit of relief, but unless they’re utilized to 100% of capacity which is opening up a company, I can’t see any other way to utilize them,” says Flores.

The application period will be open for the next two weeks.  The new firefighters are expected to start in April.

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