Hurtado fans the flames of Lindsay fire division

Lindsay‘s city council members recognize Senator Melissa Hurtado for securing a $2 million dollar grant for the public safety department

LINDSAY – Senator Melissa Hurtado secures yet another grant for a Central Valley city, and this time it benefits Lindsay’s fire division. 

On Oct. 11, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) was recognized at the Lindsay City Council meeting for securing $2 million in grant funding to support the city’s fire division. The funding will help the public safety department purchase equipment and provide more training for officers and firefighters, according to Mayor Ramona Caudillo. A check will be presented to the city on Oct. 20.

“Well [Senator Hurtado], I owe you a lot. I want to say thank you,” Caudillo said. “Senator Hurtado is known for being thoughtful, a policymaker who works across party lines to improve the quality of life for residents, and to ensure rural voices are heard in all levels of government.” 

This grant is one step closer to a more functional fire division for Lindsay, though it is not Hurtado’s only accomplishment to residents in the Central Valley. Hurtado has advocated for millions in grant funding to cities in September alone, such as securing $7 million for Woodlake’s new civic center and $10 million for Porterville’s new Emergency Operations Center.

“This makes me want to be a little emotional and cry. I don’t want to do that here, but this is the first time that I got recognized by a city,” Hurtado said. “I do this work because I care about this region.”

The grant is yet another stride for the city after a successful year of growth. This year alone, the department was able to buy new police vehicles and fire truck due to a USDA grant. Additionally, for the first time in over 10 years Lindsay hired three full-time, and fully dedicated, firefighters this year. Not only that, but on Sept. 1 the city swore in four volunteers to back them up. The city had been without designated fire volunteers and employees since 2011. 

“All those that work within city hall, including the fire slash police department, just go above and beyond and you deserve a lot more,” Hurtado said. “This is a step in the right direction to finally provide you with those resources that you need to make this community a safe place to live.”

Lindsay is one of three departments in the entire state to have a public safety department where the officers had dual fire and police roles. The officers were originally cross trained and would trade their blues for a fire suit when the need arose. Now, however, cross training officers is much more costly and inefficient, leading the city to begin developing two distinct divisions within the public safety department. 

“I want to thank the city staff as well because they, much like my staff, play a huge role behind the scenes in advocating for the community and the community members,” Hurtado said. “’I’m sure you get frustrated but nonetheless you’re still there you’re still advocating and I look forward to securing more funds with you in the near future.”

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