The city of Flint has three dozen new firefighters.
They were sworn in today.
Family and friends packed the auditorium to see Flint’s newest firemen be sworn in. Some had the honor of pinning on the new firefighters' badges.
Fire Chief Ray Barton is happy to see the ranks of his department not only increase by 50%, but also grow younger. He says the average age of the new recruits is in the mid-20s, while Flint’s veteran firefighters’ average age is in the mid-40s.
“I probably have seven that can retire right now,” says Barton, “And in another two years, I probably have another 15 or so.”
A federal SAFER grant is paying for 33 of Flint’s new firefighters for the next two years.
In the short term, Chief Barton says the additional officers will allow his department to do several things, including reopening a long-dormant fire station.