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After Dry Spell, Fire Department Sets To Begin Hiring Again

After a long, dry spell, the Springfield Fire Department is set to begin filling the nineteen vacant positions it has now. KSMU’s Justin Lux was at the Old Fire Station No. 6 on Tuesday, where candidates were tested for agility.

{Sound of water hose}That’s the sound of potential firefighters dragging a hose line across concrete. Half a dozen candidates displayed their skills, going from drill to drill as firefighters looked on.

For a firefighter, training is very important, so making sure all candidates are able to put up with the demands of the job is a top priority. Springfield Fire Department’s assistant chief David Pennington was on hand to give an in-depth description of what the candidates are put through following their written exams.

"They begin with a mile run at JFK Stadium," Pennington said. "If they pass that, they come here and climb an aerial ladder."

The fire department says it initially plans to hire 10 new recruits in June, with a second batch of new hires coming in the following months. The department has faced some difficulties due to the city’s under-funded police and fire pension plan. The addition o fthe new recruits is welcomed by the department, which currently has 19 vacancies due to a hiring freeze implemented by the city.

John Haggard was one of the candidates who had to extend a fire ladder as part of the exam. He says the pension plan issue never really concerned him as he sought to join the department.

If they pass the agility drills, the candidates will schedule their first interviews.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.