FMFD applying for grant money to save 21 firefighter jobs

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- They save lives and protect the public, but soon 21 firefighters could lose their jobs if the department isn’t awarded more grant money.

Those positions are paid for by Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant. The current grant funds will run out by May.

“So far it is the greatest job in the world. I wouldn’t do anything else,” said 23-year-old Juan Rosado.

Rosado is the Fort Myers Fire Departments newest hire, but Rosado’s salary is paid by federal grants.

“It’s tough. You think about it a lot and I try to put it in the back of my mind at the end of the day, and just try to plan what if,” said Rosado.

Monday morning the Department of Homeland Security will start accepting applications for the grant. Each year they award more than $340 million to agencies across the country.

Fort Myers Fire was first awarded the grant in 2009, when they had to lay off firefighters.

“Hopefully we will get an early award and not have to reduce the workforce,” said Chief Randolph Jordan.

While it looks promising, there is always a chance they will not be awarded and those 21 firefighters could lose their jobs.

That’s about seven firemen and women removed across the city on each shift.

“Apparatus we would likely to lose, would be these small trucks. We would take them out of service to staff our engines adequately,” said Jordan.

Jordan says that could make response times longer.

Those like Rosado can only sit and wait, hoping the job they live for, won’t be cut.

“Future kids, we are talking about it in the next five years, without this job it is not going to be possible,” said Rosado.

Jordan feels the department has a really good chance for being awarded more grant money to keep the 21 firefighters.

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