Gadsden hires 20 new firefighters | News
GADSDEN, AL (WBRC)- After several weeks of not having enough firefighters to fill every station, the city of Gadsden is hiring new firefighters.
Early last month, Gadsden's fire department suffered a manpower shortage and some days they even had to close one or two of their fire stations because there weren't enough firefighters.
But now that's starting to change. Friday, the city's civil service board voted to hire 20 new firefighters.
Eleven of those are already certified, which means they start work immediately and will be on the street next week. The other nine will be hired at the first of the year and undergo training, before they too hit the streets, likely sometime in February.
The Gadsden fire manpower shortage came from a number of early-retirement buyouts, as the city looked to lower insurance costs at the start of the new year. There were a also a handful of firefighters on leave due to illness or injury.
Gadsden's fire chief says the problems have been slowly going away, and the new hires will help a lot.
"Every once in awhile, we'll have somewhere where we have to shut down one apparatus. But through the holidays we have had a stretch of six or seven days where nothing was shut down. So, you know, this would certainly help continue that trend," Chief Steve Carroll said.
One of the board members was reluctant to vote for the hirings. Jason Stinson expressed concern that two of the firefighters admitted past drug use. One of them admitted to using marijuana in the last year and having once even sold drugs.
However, city officials say all city employees, including firefighters, are drug tested on a regular basis.
Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.