Portland Fire and Rescue Gets FEMA “SAFER” Grant Money

Anchor intro: Portland Fire and Rescue is getting millions in federal grant money, that will specifically help one fire station.  But at the same time, others are also coping with understaffing.

Isaac McLennen is President of the Portland Firefighters Association.  He says after five years of his Fire Station 23 going without a four person crew, he pushed the city to apply for a F.E.M.A. “SAFER” grant. This week he found out Portland Fire and Rescue’s received $2.1 million, in “SAFER” grant money.  SAFER stands for staffing for adequate fire and emergency response.  “Honestly I was shocked amazed and excited,” said McLennen.  That’ll pay for his station for three years, but it doesn’t solve the understaffing issue: with firefighters routinely working overtime:

 News partner KGW reports Portland Fire and Rescue is down 29 frontline firefighters from being fully staffed. The city’s been grounding some resources at Fire Station 19 in Montavilla and station 11 in Lents. McLennen says those are the stations that get the most calls for help.  “We’re concerned about the safety,” he said.

McLennen pointed to an incident last October when a fire destroyed an abandoned building and damaged two homes in Southeast Portland. It happened just a mile away from Station 23, but their two person team couldn’t respond. 

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