PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Fire Chief Shawn Sollberger announced that the Peoria Fire Department has been awarded the SAFER grant Wednesday.

The $4 million will go towards hiring 11 new firefighters to help staff Engine 2.

“45% of that of those 11 is from minority and protected class, so that’s extremely exciting as well. Knowing that you have engine two back solidified with federal money is a big deal to our workforce, to our department, to me personally,” said Sollberger.

Right now, Engine 2 is being staffed with overtime staff.

“The level of morale, it’s been low. We have lost 37 positions, three apparatus, engine two being one of them. Knowing that we can get one back and hire 11 firefighters, in a moment I think that morale has changed,” said Sollberger

The first day for the 11 firefighters will be November 4, 2022.