The City of Lubbock now has nine new firefighters, but trouble still lies ahead. Early last month, the city made the decision to re-open fire station 13 in Northwest Lubbock after it had been closed for ten years. The first problem. was where to find the money; the second was finding new hires. Now, the problem has partially been solved.
Resident Reacts to New Fire Station
Hundreds of Northwest Lubbock residents have been living in a dangerous situation when it comes to fires for quite some time. The solution? Re-open a fire station that was closed ten years ago.
Nine new hires accepted their new responsibility with pride at Friday's graduation. The ringing of the traditional bell made it official that a new group has been sworn in as Lubbock firefighters.
"It feels great to be a part of the fire service here in Lubbock. It's a very good profession to get into and a great group of guys," said graduate, Chad Whitley.
In early January, city council members unanimously approved the fire department's request to hire 15 new firefighters and to re-open station 13. But even Friday's nine new recruits won't be enough. They're only filling current vacancies, the department still needs more to fill the now vacant station 13. City council members say they've found the money to make it happen.
"Well, you just do without, cut back on expenses, on travel, cut back on purchasing, you can not hire as many as you normally would. It's a lot of areas to go through," said Councilman Gary Boren.
Northwest Lubbock Fire Station Re-Opening with 15 New Jobs
In January, city council members weren't sure where they'd get the money, but Boren says public safety comes before all other city matters. "That's why you have a city hall, not to build a bureaucracy, but to be out there helping citizens, and public safety's number one," said Boren.
And for the nine new firefighters, public safety is also number one. "The job just seems remarkable to go out and help people and then to enjoy going to work everyday, you just can't beat that," said Whitley.
The fire department has another training class starting in March, which they hope will help fill some of the 15 openings.
Meanwhile, Boren said the new hires will not cause any extra costs to the public.