NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The New Rochelle City Council on Wednesday authorized the New Rochelle Fire Department to hire six new firefighters.
A $1 million grant from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will allow the Fire Department to interview and select candidates to go to the firefighter academy in Valhalla next month.
The two-year grant starts in early January, with no cost to the city until after the two years are up. The grant covers the firefighters’ salaries and benefits, and the city will have to figure out out to keep the firefighters on the payroll after the grant expires.
New Rochelle Fire Chief Lou DiMeglio said the department is ecstatic about the news, which will help offset the six to eight firefighters who retire over the next two years.
“There’s new blood to be brought into the department,” he said.
The department will rise from 149 to 155 firefighters upon the new employees’ graduation from the academy.
Departments are selected for the grants based on their conditions and how much they need to increase their staffs.
The New Rochelle Fire Department was not selected the previous three times it applied for the money.
Mayor Noam Bramson was pleased about the federal government’s assistance.
“This is some really great news,” he said.