Dan Stamm

$5M Federal Grant Gives Boost to Camden Fire Department

A South Jersey city has received more than $5 million in federal grant money to hire 27 additional firefighters, said fire officials.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Camden's fire department received the money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The hires will bring the number of city firefighters to 196.

Fire Chief Michael Harper on Wednesday called the hires "a breath of fresh air."

The city in 2011 laid off 60 firefighters in an effort to reduce costs. Though some were eventually rehired, the newspaper says suburban fire companies had to assist on some calls. Response times were also sometimes minutes slower than they were prior to the cuts.

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez says the grant will ensure the department is sufficiently staffed and prepared to respond.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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