Helena Fire Department receives major grant

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, December 29, 2010

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

HELENA – The Helena Fire Department will soon see a boost in staff levels with a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., announced a $566,370 grant for the fire department Dec. 29.

With the grant, the Helena Fire Department will recall 12 part-time firefighters.

Bachus said the grant will allow the fire department to better serve the Helena community.

“Our fire departments are at the heart of their communities. It is critical for the protection of citizens, as well as the safety of firefighters, that they have the personnel and resources to do their job well,” Bachus said in a press release. “The Helena Fire Department is to be commended for receiving this significant grant, and it is great news to start a new year.”

Helena Fire Chief John Wilder said he looks forward to having able firefighters return to work.

“We are humbled and thankful to receive this grant. It will allow 12 firefighters who were laid off due to poor economic conditions to return to work,” Wilder said. “We thank Congressman Bachus for his support during these challenging times and it is this spirit of cooperation that has helped make Helena one of the top 100 communities in the country.”

Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale said the grant is coming at the perfect time for Helena. “This grant will benefit the safety and well-being of the citizens of Helena,” Penhale said. “The combination of very significant growth in recent years along with tough economic times means this grant could not come at a better time.”

The grant comes from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.