Flint seeks federal help to save 19 firefighter jobs

Flint firefighters respond to a structure fire

Flint firefighters are hoping the third time is a charm.

â??Weâ??ve applied twice and we've received it twice,â?? says Dave Cox, chief of the Flint Fire Department.

â??Fire volume is increasing and the staffing we have has been decreasing until recently with the SAFER grant,â?? says Mark Kovach, president of the Flint firefighters union.

Those SAFER grants are given out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For the last few years, the grant has funded 39 of 87 firefighter positions.

â??We're functioning at a minimum right now, to lose that much more will eliminate the ability to fight two structure fires (at the same time),â?? says Kovach.

Now, city officials are asking for $7.9 million.

Without that money, 19 firefighters will see pink slips.

â??The loss of 19 bodies, we would probably be forced to close maybe two fire stations,â?? says Cox.

That would leave a city of more than 100,000 people with three fire stations and 68 firefighters.

â??Normal response times, certainly, they will increase,â?? says Cox.

â??We will have difficulty responding adequately to even one fire,â?? says Kovach.

â??Reality of it all is, if we have to deal with it---we'll have to deal with it,â?? says Cox.