MARTINEZ -- A $9.6 million federal grant will enable the Contra Costa Fire District to restaff one currently inactive station and deploy two-person medical response vehicles at two others, Fire Chief Jeff Carman told the board of supervisors, sitting as the fire board, this week.

The two-person "squads," as they are known in fire district parlance, would be added to Fire Station 6 in downtown Concord and Station 1 in downtown Walnut Creek, where one squad has been operating for several months under a pilot program.

An engine company would be added to reopen Fire Station 11 in Clayton, which was shuttered because of financial woes. The district projects a deficit of $10.2 million in its $106 million fiscal 2014-15 budget.

The board endorsed Carman's plan 4-0. Supervisor Federal Glover was absent.

The grant, spread over two years, is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program.

Originally projected to hire 27 firefighters, the grant may have to be used in part to fill vacancies, Carman said. Three battalion chiefs recently retired and a fourth is expected to do so soon, along with several captains and engineers. That could mean the goals of the FEMA grant may not be implemented as quickly as hoped, Carman said.

"We are working as fast as we can to hire an academy, which is slated to start mid-May," Carman said in an email Friday. "They will graduate 13 weeks later, or late August. We hope to have 34 people in that academy."


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Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner