The Monroe Township Fire Department was on the receiving end of two significant grants this year, allowing the department to hire two additional firefighter/paramedics and to purchase a new ladder truck.

The Monroe Township Fire Department was on the receiving end of two significant grants this year, allowing the department to hire two additional firefighter/paramedics and to purchase a new ladder truck.

The department learned in February that it would receive a grant valued at $210,850, thanks to a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) federal grant.

Fire Chief Dudley Wright said the department applied for the grant in August of 2007, but it was awarded in February of this year.

The two new staff members brought Monroe up from three to four full-time firefighter/paramedics around the clock.

"We employ a total of 13 full-time firefighter/paramedics and have more than 20 volunteer members as well," Wright said. "We expect to have a record year in terms of emergency responses, which should exceed 1,700."

The SAFER grant requires Monroe Township to provide local matching dollars for the cost of the employees over the five-year period of the grant.

The new hires were Traci Scott of Johnstown and Josh Martell of Fredericksburg.

Scott has served as a Monroe Township volunteer during the last four years. Martell was a volunteer with Fredericksburg. He has an associate degree in firefighter science from Stark Community College.

In addition to the SAFER grant, Monroe recently learned it will receive a $471,200 grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program that will be used for the purchase of a 75-foot Quint ladder truck.

Wright described the new vehicle as a ladder truck with a 75-foot aerial ladder, ground ladders, water tank, fire hose and water pump. Because of its versatility, he said, this type of vehicle can respond as either a ladder truck or as a fire engine, making it particularly valuable.

The grant will cover 95 percent of the approximately $600,000 cost of the vehicle, with Monroe Township providing the remaining 5 percent as matching funds from capital improvement funds, as well as a $100,000 donation made for the purchase of a ladder truck in 1999 by the late Pauline Chambers and her family.

The new vehicle will replace a 1975 76-foot Quint fire truck (Ladder 501).

The Monroe Township Fire Department provides fire protection and EMS to Monroe Township, the village of Johnstown, Jersey Township north of Worthington Road, part of the village of New Albany, most of Liberty Township and part of McKean Township.