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To Stem Layoffs, Fire Depts. Hope For FEMA Grants

State fire departments will soon find out if they've gotten federal money to stave off layoffs. Sixty-one Massachusetts towns applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency grants that allow fire departments to hire new staff and rehire laid off workers.

New Bedford District Fire Chief Joseph Barros says one New Bedford resident died in a fire because firefighters were too far away to respond in time.

"They would not have been [far away] if that closed station had been available. That closest engine to that house fire where that person died would've only been about a half a mile away," Barros says.

Barros says the grant would prevent 31 layoffs and allow the department to hire at least 34 firefighters.

The FEMA grants will be announced this month.

This program aired on December 3, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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