Monday May 09, 2011 | 08:23 AM

The city of Portland will be able to hire 12 firefighters for the fire department’s Heavy Rescue Unit with the aid of a federal grant, Rep. Chellie Pingree said this morning.

The $1 million grant will pay for the positions for two years and helps fill the gap created by the department cutting a total of 19 positions over the past two years, the Maine Democrat said in a statement.
The money comes from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program. The city applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the grant, and Pingree, of the first congressional district, wrote a letter of support for the application, her office said.
“The city of Portland has had to make some devastating cuts during the economic downturn and I’m glad they will be able to recoup some of the losses.  These are very important jobs for the community,” said Pingree.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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