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Mayor, Fire Department Reveal Plans To Hire 25 Firefighters

Lisa Ryan/WBOI News

Mayor Tom Henry and fire chief Eric Lahey announced plans Friday to hire 25 new firefighters to the Fort Wayne Fire Department.

Ten of the new hires are made possible due to a $1.4 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant awarded to the City of Fort Wayne. The grant will cover salaries and benefits for the 25 new hires for three years, by which point funding will be taken over by the City.

The other 15 hires are slated to be part of Henry’s 2019 budget proposal, which he typically introduces in mid- to late-September.

“We’re very fortunate to have received a second consecutive award under the SAFER grant,” Lahey said. “Grant awards like this one help us accomplish that goal. We will continue to identify opportunities like the SAFER grant to make our Fire Department as efficient as possible.”

The fire department currently has 339 employees, and the academy class for new hires would begin in February 2019. Fort Wayne’s annual budget is generally discussed by City Council throughout October.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered, and hosted Morning Edition for the past few years. In 2022, he was promoted to Content Director.