New hires boost Bethlehem fire force to highest level in 30 years

Published: Feb 20 2013 04:24:27 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 20 2013 05:21:56 PM EST

The Bethlehem Fire Department recognized several firefighters during a hiring and promotion ceremony Wednesday morning.

Six new firefighters were welcomed to the force, including Mary Alice Maguire. She's only the third woman to ever serve with the fire department.

Maguire comes from a firefighting family. Her father is Chief George Barkanic.

With the induction of the new members, the chief said the fire department is returning to prior staffing levels.

"The department had lost a few people through attrition, and with the Safer Grant from FEMA, we were able to hire five firefighters back," said Barkanic. "It brings our strength to the highest its been in 30 years, at 114 firefighters."

Three current firefighters were also promoted during Wednesday's ceremony.