Local News

Raleigh to hire 14 firefighters

Posted August 23, 2009 5:59 p.m. EDT
Updated August 23, 2009 11:19 p.m. EDT

— In a down economy, finding a secure job is not easy. A lot of people are turning to firefighting, which offers some stability, according to Chief Larry Stanford, with the Raleigh Fire Training Division.

Raleigh recently launched a recruiting drive to hire 14 firefighters. So far, more than 500 people have applied.

In February, Apex received 401 applications for 12 new firefighting positions, a sign of the increasing interest in the field.

Kelly Lamotta has worked as a firefighter for about four months.

“I didn't have any fire experience before I applied, and as long as you have a great attitude and you work well with others … you are just up there with everybody else, everyone who has had experience,” Lamotta said.

Raleigh’s new positions are due to recent retirements, Stanford said. Firefighting jobs are full-time, with benefits and a starting salary of approximately $32,000.

“It is a very stable job, and a lot of people are looking for stability now more so then a high paying job,” Stanford said.

“I really enjoy it. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else,” Lamotta said.

Apex’s funds for new firefighters came from a $1.3 million grant distributed in January by the federal Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program, or SAFER.

The grant required that at least six of the successful applicants not already have firefighter training. The goal was to draw new people into the firefighting field, with minimum qualifications set at a clean driving record and an age of at least 18.

DHS gave more than $13 million in 2008 SAFER grants to 28 North Carolina municipalities, including $2.1 million for Fayetteville to hire new firefighters.

To apply for an open position within the Raleigh Fire Department, pick up an application through August 28 at any city fire station.