The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District will hire 24 additional firefighters next year using a new $5.6 million federal grant, according to district officials and the office of U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento.
Like other fire districts, Metro Fire, which serves about 640,000 residents in central and northern Sacramento County, has been hit hard by the economic downturn.
The district will take in about $8 million less in revenue this fiscal year than it did four years prior, district budget documents show. Falling revenue forced the district to shutter a few stations and employ fewer firefighters.
To make up the difference, Metro Fire has increasingly turned to grants. One of the largest grants it receives comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through a program called Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.
The district received a $5.4 million SAFER grant in 2011 to hire 24 firefighters. The new $5.6 million grant will allow the district to hire 24 more firefighters, said Michelle Eidam, district spokeswoman.
The firefighters will be hired by June, Eidam said.
The district currently employs about 220 firefighters and 125 engineers, budget documents show.
The grant also will allow the district to put two of its idled fire engines back into service, district Chief Kurt P. Henke said in a statement.
The district will decide in January where to employ those two engines, he said.