City of Fort Wayne Adding 15 More Firefighters

Aug 4, 2015

Fire Chief Eric Lahey (middle), Public Safety Director Rusty York (left) and Mayor Tom Henry (right) announce the new jobs at Fire Station No. 9.
Credit Lisa Ryan, WBOI News

The Fort Wayne Fire Department announced Monday it will hire new firefighters with a $1.4 million grant. The firefighters will fill positions that have been vacant.

At a minimum, there needs to be four firefighters per truck when responding to an emergency.

But when some firefighters retired in recent years, their positions remained empty, meaning others had to work extra hours.

Captain Tom Helmkamp says this overtime means long hours spent away from his family.

“We work a 24-hour shift, so if you do work overtime, you’re working a double shift, so 48 hours is a long time to be away from home,” Helmkamp said. “And then you get one day, 24 hour off before you’re back again.”

The federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant will be used to hire 10 new firefighters and will also add 5 firefighters to next year’s budget.

Fort Wayne’s fire chief says the additional emergency responders will help protect the city.