By Dan Bewley and NewsOn6.com
TULSA, Oklahoma – Hundreds of people lined up Thursday morning hoping to become Tulsa firefighters as the Tulsa Fire Department took applications to fill 48 jobs.
They came wearing sweatshirts and looking like they were prepared to go camping. A total of 254 people lined up, hoping they'd make the cut and become a Tulsa firefighter.
But the department is still waiting to see if it will actually get the money to pay for the positions.
"Normally we test quarterly or monthly and have an ongoing list, but we haven't hired a class since August of 2008, so we felt like it was really un-needed to expend the resources to test them because we didn't have the budget to hire them," Clark said.
The Tulsa Fire Department is using federal grant money to hire the new firefighters. The money will allow the department to return to full strength, Clark said. Right now, the department is 48 firefighters short.
"What it does do is that we still have the same number of trucks responding - doesn't affect our response time, but what it does affect is the number of people who are on the scene when we want them on the scene," said Deputy Chief Ray Driskell.
The only catch is the fire department isn't guaranteed it will even get that grant. But the deputy chief says, regardless, they still plan on having an academy next year.
"And if we do not get the grant we're still making provisions to start a class, not that size, but start a class sometime in the next fiscal period which would be after July 1," Driskell said.
Those selected will go through a series of interviews, endurance tests, and background checks. They'll know soon, the testing will be held the first week of November.
The department is working with Tulsa Community College to provide a testing location.
If you missed Thursday morning's sign-up, the fire department will be holding another next Monday from noon to 5 at the safety training center.