Monday, December 3, 2012
Five laid-off Long Beach firefighters have jobs again, after the
city's fire department was awarded federal money to pay for their
positions for the next two years.
Sen. Charles Schumer
(D-N.Y.), the five firefighters and city officials gathered outside the
department Saturday to announce the grant totaling $910,530 from the
federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)
program. Officials said the extra personnel is especially needed now as
the city rebuilds after it was devastated by superstorm Sandy.
"It is greatly appreciated to bring
back these five firefighters under one of the darkest times this city
has gone through in its lifetime," said city Fire Commissioner Scott
Schumer spoke of the city's devastation.
"We suffered tremendous damage here in
Long Beach . . . but praise God, the loss of life and limb was
minimized. The danger to life and limb was minimized mainly because of
these folks who are standing behind me and the people like them," said
Schumer, who helped to secure the grant money for the city.
"I have always been a big supporter of
the firefighters, both paid and volunteer, because these folks are like
soldiers . . . they risk their lives for our safety," he said.
The five firefighters' jobs were
eliminated in July due to budget cuts and they are slated to start work
again on Thursday, according to fire officials. The department now has
about 30 paid-firefighters and 150 volunteers.
Mike Seemann's family, including his
wife and baby daughter, were at the fire house to celebrate his
rehiring. Seemann, 33, who volunteered for the fire department for about
six years before getting a job, said the news was almost too good to be
"It is one weight lifted off," said Seemann, whose home was destroyed in the storm.
Alex Sharpe, 28, another one of the
five, said he had worked for Long Beach about nine months before he was
laid off. Since then, he has been mostly unemployed, and when he heard
the news, he said he was happy. "I was dancing in the middle of the