28 AC firefighters back on the job

May 3, 2011 9:20:43 PM PDT
28 laid-off firefighters will be back on the job Wednesday morning in Atlantic City.

The laid off Atlantic City firefighters will report back to duty at 8:00 a.m., seven months after deep budget cuts forced the city to let go of 30 firefighters.

Their return is prompting relief around town.

"I am so happy and so proud that they are hiring them back," Trenton resident Deborah Page said.

"They need to have the proper protection for the hotels and the people who live in the area," Valerie Stephen of Conyers, Georgia said.

A $9.7-million federal grant allowed the 28 firefighters to be rehired. As for the last two, one had already taken a different job, the other currently can't answer calls, but will be rehired.

"They'll be picking up where they left off, as far as their time, pension, and their salary and benefits," Chief Dennis Brooks said.

The layoffs had forced several fire companies to close at different points since last October but by morning all should be open. The grant also covers 21 new hires and 10 promotions. When all is said and done, the department should number around 250 members.

"It's the first time we ever laid off a firefighter or police officer in Atlantic City, so it was pretty dramatic; it was a once in a lifetime thing, I hope, and I hope better days are ahead," Brooks said.

As for those 21 firefighters who are yet to be hired, they will still need to go through training. They're expected to be on the street by the fall.