The Philadelphia Fire Department has received two federal grants worth a combined $18.4 million to pay for new firefighters and train current ones.
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah announced the awards Wednesday. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said this was the first time the city had won the larger of the two grants - $16.3 million administered through FEMA to hire new firefighters.
Ayers said the money would pay the salaries and benefits of 128 firefighters for two years. As of June 30, the department had about 2,000 firefighters but should have more than 2,200.
Two fire academy classes, with 160 recruits, are slated to begin training in August.