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Central Coast Fire Department Gets Federal Grant For Major Expansion

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A federal grant is setting the stage for a Central Coast fire department to beef up its staff, adding five new full time firefighting positions.   The Santa Maria Fire Department has received a three year, $1.6 million dollar grant from FEMA to allow the expansion.

The extra staffing will allow them to add an additional unit to the Downtown Santa Maria area, based at Fire Station Number 1. Additional firefighters are already being recruited, with a goal of having them in place by the second quarter of next year.

The grant will pay 75% of the new firefighters positions for the first two years, and 35% the third year. The City will use part of a voter-approved sales tax hike, Measure U, to fill the gap.

After the grant ends, Measure U money will cover the full cost. The tax money is also being used to buy two replacement fire engines.