Grant money funding extra Wright City firefighters to run out in February

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WRIGHT CITY, Mo. – Six of Wright City’s 12 firefighters are being paid through a federal grant that runs out February 6.

“The federal government allowed us to double the staff from six to 12 firefighters, from two on duty per day to four firefighters on duty per day,” said Chief Ron MacKnight, Wright City Fire Protection District.

They cover between 90 and 95 square miles in parts of Warren and Lincoln counties. Chief MacKnight said it’s important the community understands what will happen if they lose the firefighters.

“It’s the impact on services,” he said. “Go from four firefighters on a truck to a crew of two on the truck, it dramatically impacts the level of service you can provide.”

That includes structural fires, vehicular extrication, delivering babies, community programs, and much more.

Wright City leaders said they have to somehow keep these firefighters.

“The initial plan, no matter what, is we’re going to keep them for another year,” said Rudy Jovanovic, president of the board of directors for the Wright City Fire Protection District. “We’re committing our reserve funds to keep them employed.”

But then there will be no money left for the upkeep of their three trucks, a 47-year-old building and any emergencies that come up. The fire protection district has asked voters twice in last year and a half for a tax increase, but it failed.

“We’re hoping to go again in April,” Jovanovic said. “That’s a board decision to be made tomorrow night. Hope to fund full staff, the six safer firefighters from now on.”

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