Fed grant allows city to hire more firefighters and thousands apply

WESTWOOD, OH (FOX19) - The City of Cincinnati has broken ground on a new fire station on Harrison Avenue in Westwood.

It will replace the previous one that has stood for 105 years.

The new facility will allow better access and quicker services to one of the busiest neighborhoods in Cincinnati.

During the ceremony, city manager Milton Dohoney announced that the city will be getting a $5.9-million federal SAFER grant.

Dohoney said "This will fund the payroll of 40 people for two years and allow us to move forward with our service delivery."

Fire Department recruiter, Lt. Don Roper, says there haven't been any hirings in the past five years so getting the grant will help the department build up staffing levels.  "That's going to supplement our firefighting force and will take some of the pressure off of us."

Lt. Roper says the 40 people will be chosen from more than 3,200 applicants. "It shows us that people are interested. We have over 540-something females."

Roper says he's seen a greater role for women in the fire department since he started 28 years ago. "Females came in 1984 along with me, and I can see the changes, and one of the reasons for change then and now even more so, that's why we have 540-some applicants, is diversity. We need diversity. Our city is diverse therefore our fire department is being diverse."

Roper says those diverse applicants will have to meet some rigorous standards just to qualify. "It takes a willing, honest, sociable person that's diverse and willing to fight fires."

Cincinnati fire officials expect a few thousand applicants to come to the Duke Energy Center August 4th to take the written exam, but only the best and brightest will be invited to attend the academy.

The council committee accepted the federal grant on Monday.

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