- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - The city of Bridgeport has been awarded $2.7 million in federal funding to hire 17 new firefighters.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and Fire Chief Richard Thode announced the grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants program provides funding to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to increase or maintain their number of trained, front line firefighters.

Bridgeport is using its grant to pay the salaries of 17 out of the 24 new fire recruits for the next two years.

Ganim says the fire department has been “dangerously understaffed” for years. He says adding firefighters will make the city safer and reduce spending on overtime.

Thode says adding the recruits will return staffing levels to full strength, at 282 firefighters.

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