AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Austin Fire Department will soon grow by 36 recruits, thanks to a $5.1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
It was the city's third effort at snagging the grant, and officials say a lot of the credit goes to congressman Lloyd Doggett and the Austin Firefighters Association.
"I know they study a lot of fire departments all over the country and pick ones where the money will be most productive," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. "I'm very proud of our fire department, the city of Austin and Chief Kerr."
The grant means Austin will be able to put four-man crews on every fire ladder and every rescue truck in the department, a number that is the recommended national standard.
Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr was delighted with the news.
"With today's construction and today's demand on the department, the more people we can put on a unit, the quicker we can gather and effective fire fighting force. It makes a difference," Kerr said.
The additional recruits will undergo 28 weeks of training and likely be on board by summer of 2013. They bring the department up to 1,119 officers.
Austin is the 13th largest department in the country, with 45 fire stations spread about the city.
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The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
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After two hours of discussion regarding the final design for Auditorium Shores, the Austin City Council decided to approve the design on a vote of 7-0 with amendments.