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GFD to add four firefighters to ranks

The Greenville Fire Department will soon add four new firefighters to its ranks. At Monday night’s Greenville City Council meeting, the Council voted to approve a $2,600 payment to the Ozark Fire Department for a 14-week training course for Stephen Stricklin, Holsie Griffin, Matthew Gunter and Chuck Williamson. (Advocate Staff/Andy Brown)

The Greenville Fire Department will soon add four new firefighters to its ranks.

At Monday night’s Greenville City Council meeting, the Council voted to approve a $2,600 payment to the Ozark Fire Department for a 14-week training course for Stephen Stricklin, Holsie Griffin, Matthew Gunter and Chuck Williamson.

The new firefighters will replace the four the department has lost within the last year.

“This will give us the chance to fill some vacancies,” Chief Mike Phillips said. “This is really big for us because once we get them back from school we’ll be able to be at a normal staff level again. We’ve had to shuffle people around to fill the voids in the schedule, so it will be a big help to add four more firefighters to the mix.”

Greenville’s firefighters work 24 hour shift beginning at 8 a.m. They work in groups of three at each of the city’s two fire stations.

Even with the addition of the new firefighters, it will be more than three months before the department is fully staffed.

“We’re excited to get them there and get them back,” Phillips said.

The GFD recruits will spend the first six weeks receiving the necessary training to become an Emergency Medical Technician, and the next eight weeks completing Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications with the Alabama Fire College. They will begin their training on Jan. 23.