Columbia Fire Department Receives Grant for Personnel

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department is receiving $658,120 to pay for the salaries and benefits of those new firefighters for two years.

The compensation for salaries and benefits are effective as of Sunday, March 3rd, 2013.

The funds will be coming from the national Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants program, which was created to improve or restore local fire departments' staffing and deployment capabilities so they may more effectively respond to emergencies. The program is a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Columbia Fire Chief Chuck Witt said the additional fire fighters will provide much needed manpower and improve overall efficiency during emergency operations.

Due to budget shortfalls, one of two crews assigned to Fire Station Two on West Worley Street was transferred to another station when it opened in February of 2009. Since that time the second truck at Station Two has only been used sporadically.

Witt said these additional personnel will allow us to open engine two on a more "consistent basis".