HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Fire Department is still working to fill the ranks by adding new firefighters, and they gained two more on Monday.
Lateral hires from Claiborne County and Collins were both sworn in during a brief ceremony at City Hall in front of friends, family and fellow firefighters.
"Anytime that you can add capacity, anytime that you can help as we try to continue moving this city and this department forward is a good thing," Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said.
Adding these two men to the ranks brings the department total to 115, according to city officials.
"It's a bigger city, coming from a small town and just trying expand my horizon, trying to get better at what I am doing, and just trying to have something going for myself," said firefighter Kentavius Reed. "Really, I guess just the bigger family that it is at the fire department, its bigger and better than where I came from."
"Big city, being able to move up, a more structured department, just being able to learn more certifications," said firefighter James Yawn. "Be able to do the 24-hour shifts, and the more structured department…bigger department, more capabilities."
"Our fire department sells itself," Barker said. "We have people who are trained, people who are professionals, to bring in two experienced officers, one from Claiborne County, one from Collins, means the world."