FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – More than two dozen firefighters will be laid off this week, as federal grant money in a local city’s budget has run dry.
Fall River received a federal grant worth more than $14 million in 2010, and the city used that money to – among other things – expand its fire department. Now, four years later, Mayor Will Flanagan says the city can’t afford to keep the department’s entire staff on the payroll.
“The grant has expires,” Flanagan said. “Since there were a number of jobs hired on that grant, we’re having a difficult time sustaining those jobs.”
A handful of veterans said they took early retirement in order to help younger firefighters stay on the job.
Flanagan said he is optimistic that the city will be able to rebuild its department. Right now, after the layoffs, the Fall River Fire Department will employ 175 firefighters. Flanagan’s goal: 200.
Despite the diminished workforce, Flanagan said the department will remain fully functional. He said they are free to use overtime or mutual aid in order to continue fighting fires in the city.