Fire chief needs fourth firefighter


Since a nearly unmanageable blaze in February of 2007 endangered the lives of residents and city firefighters, Fire Chief Adam Thiel has been lobbying Council to buy his force more manpower.

Currently, the Alexandria Fire Department is thinly staffed three firefighters per fire engine. National standards dictate a minimum of four per engine, according to the National Fire Protection Agency.

Thiel briefed the mayor and City Council on Tuesday before they signed off on yet another federal grant application to fund the positions the SAFER grant (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response).

This grant if we are so fortunate to receive it would secure $645,840 to fund the positions, Theil said.  

The federal award would pay the salaries and benefits of nine firefighters and outfit four of the nine fire companies with the minimum personnel needed for two years, according to an internal memo. After two years, the onus would be on the city to fund the positions.

Most of the jurisdictions surrounding Alexandria have adequate staffing levels, Thiel said.