Lacey Fire District 3 commissioners accepted a $2.4 million grant to pay for staffing needed to reopen the Hawks Prairie station, which closed in April.
The commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the grant during a second special meeting Monday night at the district’s headquarters off Franz Street. Tom Nelson was the lone dissenting vote.
Eighty to 90 people attended, said Commissioner John Christiansen.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover the costs needed to hire 12 firefighters.
The grant expires in March 2015, leaving it to the district to come up with funds to continue staffing. If the money can’t be raised, the new staffers will be laid off, leaving the Willamette Drive station empty once again.
The 8-year-old station closed for the second time in three years because of budget constraints.
The station likely will reopen in July or August after the new firefighters have been hired and trained, said Lacey Fire Chief Steve Brooks.
The new hires will go through an academy as early as April. The district is working with the state Fire Marshal’s Office to determine whether it can do most of the training locally.
“We would use our facility as the classroom piece and the Regional Training Center for practical pieces,” Brooks said.
The new hires will have to travel to Bates Fire Academy in North Bend for additional live fire training they cannot perform at the new training center off Fones Road.
“Part of the strategy is to keep the cost as low as we can to provide the necessary training and get through the training that is required,” Brooks said.
The district plans to interview all qualified volunteer firefighters first, which saves on some costs. All volunteers already are outfitted.Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer