SALINAS, Calif. - The Salinas City Council voted Tuesday night to foot the bill of just more than $1 million for the city's fire department to acquire new equipment. It's equipment Chief Ed Rodriguez says is a must for the department to keep the city safe.
Councilors also voted to accept a free engine from the state, which saved the city a half-million dollars.
Rodriguez asked for a new ladder, which costs about $1 million, because the mileage on the other ladder truck is so high it could become unreliable at any time.
The chief had also asked the city to finance another engine, worth more than a half-million because the current fleet is wearing out quickly due to high call volume and wear and tear from the road.
The vote comes a couple weeks after the department was awarded a federal grant worth nearly $3 million to fund new positions.
With that money, the department says it will hire back seven of 12 firefighters who were laid off for a two-year time period. In addition, the department will hire four additional staff members on a two-year contract.
Last May, the Center for Investigative Action found out the department didn't have enough staff to regularly monitor the city's several thousand fire hydrants.
In July, after a large fire on Acosta St., Central Coast News found out the city's only ladder truck isn't tall enough to reach the top of an apartment building.