PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Thanks to nearly 20 million in federal grants, Philadelphia and its fire department are finalizing plans to restore fire companies that had been shut down during the recession.
Plans include restoring Engine 8 at the Ben Franklin Fire House in Old City.
For union officials, this is big news.
"It is big news because with the increase in manpower, our Commissioner indicated he would try to reinstate the companies that were placed out of service a number of years ago when we were back in the recession," said Edward Marks, President of Local 22.
The city says firehouses used never physically closed but during the prior administration, seven fire companies were put out of service. They were: Engine 14 at Foulkrod and Darrah, Engine 6 at Belgrade and Huntingdon, Engine 39 at Ridge and Cinaminson, Engine 1 at Broad and Bainbride, Engine 8 at 4th and Arch, Ladder 11 at 12th and Reed and Ladder 1 at 13th and Parrish.
"One of the main firehouses we're talking about is down in Frankford at Foulkrod and Darrah, Engine 14," said Marks. "It's a densely populated area, and we had a number of fire deaths down in that area since the closing of Engine 14 so that's going to be a big shot in the arm for that neighborhood."
With the grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Fire Department expects to begin hiring new firefighters in early 2019.
The Fire Commissioner said this will allow the department to respond more efficiently and safely to all types of emergencies.
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