Federal grant could help with Youngstown fire dept. crisis, but acceptance not certain


YOUNGSTOWN

A federal grant would help offset the cost of hiring four city firefighters and significantly slow down the overtime crisis that threatened to cut back on personnel costs at a South Side fire station, fire Chief John J. O’Neill Jr. said.

But city officials haven’t made a final decision on accepting the grant.

An announcement today by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, of a $398,793 federal grant came a few hours before a city council finance committee to discuss the fire department’s overtime budget.

“Myself, along with Mayor John McNally and all of the members of [the firefighters’ union] could not be more pleased and grateful to Congressman Ryan for his persistence in lobbying on our behalf for this grant award,” O’Neill said. “With the fire department funding at a point that would require the closure of one of our front line trucks as early as next week, this funding will now ensure that fire department staffing will be brought up to proper levels to protect the citizens of Youngstown.”

Without the impending new hires – which will bring the department from 123 to 127 firefighters – the city was almost certainly going to be forced to cut back on personnel and a truck at Fire Station No. 2 on West Indianola Avenue, O’Neill said.

Read more about the situation in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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