Federal grant could reopen closed fire station in Starkville

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – A Starkville Fire Station, shuttered for two years, could reopen if a federal grant comes through.

The Starkville Board of Alderman approved the fire department moving forward on applying for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The FEMA SAFER Grant would pay the salaries of nine new firefighters for three years.

The additional personnel would bring Starkville Fire up to full strength again, and allow the reopening of Fire Station Number 5 on Garrard Road.

That station was temporarily closed about two years ago, due to staffing shortages.

SFD chose to close the station and reallocate money to pay for raises to retain current personnel.

“But, what it would do, it would give us nine firefighters. I think a total of $1.7 million over the three years. At the end of the three years, the city would have to come in and either make a decision to either keep those firefighters or let them go. And, hopefully, we’ll come up with a plan right now that if we did get the grant, at the end of the three years, we’ll be able to keep those firefighters,” said Chief Charles Yarborough.

“Lurking in the background always is, will there be enough people who are interested in working to continue to staff? And that Fire Stations 1 through 4 are currently functioning and providing all the basic needs that we have. Fire Station 5 will give us a bit of an add-on in terms of expanding capabilities,” said Sandra Sistrunk, Ward 2 Alderwoman.

The grant requires that the firefighters be new to the profession. City leaders are already considering options that would allow them to pick up the cost after the grant ends.

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