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Long Beach Fire Department to receive federal grants for air packs

New York's two United States senators announced more than $230,000 in federal grants to purchase air packs for firefighters.

The Long Beach Volunteer Fire Department will purchase 42 new oxygen tanks, using $237,060 from an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

"With this funding, Long Beach's first responders can focus on their important work, knowing they have new, reliable and protective breathing equipment," Schumer said in a written statement. "This investment will help ensure that our local heroes can continue their lifesaving work as effectively and safely as possible."

Long Beach was one of the hardest-hit communities during superstorm Sandy, Gillibrand said. The two senators said the department was vital during the storm response and needed the most up-to-date equipment.

A pair of firefighters responded to a blaze threatening 10 homes on Barnes Street in the Canals neighborhood.

The two firefighters waded through chest-high flood water to attack the blaze while they awaited backup.

Six homes burned and took six hours to put out, according to Schumer's office.

The Assistance to Firefighters grants, which come from FEMA under the Department of Homeland Security, can be used for training, equipment and fire station upgrades, according to joint statement from Schumer and Gillibrand.

The grants can also be used for training for terrorist attacks and emergency medical response.

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