ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The St. Louis Fire Department receives a $2.5 million federal grant to hire 20 new firefighters. Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson says it comes at a good time. Currently they are down about 19 firefighters.
“On the average, we lose about one firefighter a payday,” Jenkerson says. “So, typically we try and hire two classes a year. This is going to help us augment our funding to hire more firefighters.”
KMOX asked him what worries him the most – it’s not a high rise fire or railroad tanker care blaze. Jenkerson says the summer of shootings against first responders has his department taking extra caution as they arrive on the scene of emergencies.
“With all the attacks that are being made on first responders, that’s probably the highest on my thought list right now,” Jenkerson says. “What I worry about the most is one of my firefighters or one of my medics’ going to be caught in a area where they get attacked.”
He hopes to have the new firefighters on the job by mid-October. In addition to the money for hiring, the department also received a $300,000 grant to pay for training.
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