A $1.2 million grant secured by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will pay the salaries of 12 Biloxi firefighters for two years, enabling the department to staff an extra fire truck at its busiest station, Bay Vista Fire Station on Pass Road in west Biloxi.
This will allow the department, already one of the top-rated in the state, to meet the national standards of having 15 firefighters on the scene of any active fire call.
Ten of the 12 firefighters have been in training since December to be ready for Tuesday, their first day of full service. Two other firefighters are yet to be hired.
Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said, "What this means is that we're responding to active fires with more manpower. That helps us protect our firefighters who are fighting fires on the scene, and for the citizens and businesses of Biloxi, it means enhanced protection of life and property."
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Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said the dozen new firefighters also means the department will have more first responders on a downtown-based rescue vehicle that responds to emergencies citywide.