By Dan McKay
The Albuquerque Journal
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque firefighters will get new air tanks and breathing equipment, thanks to federal stimulus money and city funds.
Gov. Bill Richardson and Mayor Richard Berry made the announcement jointly Tuesday at one of the state's busiest fire stations, near Central and Girard NE.
Richardson will tap about $685,000 in discretionary stimulus funding for the packs, and the city will provide about $150,000. That will buy 167 "Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses."
Richardson said much of the city's existing air units are old and out of warranty, "yet our firefighters depend on them."
Berry thanked the governor for his share of the money and said the purchase will improve safety. "There's no real way to measure how many lives this will save," he said.
Richardson repeatedly thanked the national and local union leaders on hand. He also appeared to snub Berry, though it's not clear whether it was intentional.
During the news conference, Richardson introduced several city councilors, union representatives and others one by one, giving the audience time to applaud for each individually. But he said Berry's name quickly, sidestepping any applause time for the Republican mayor. Richardson, of course, is a Democrat.
Berry didn't give any sign that he noticed. He thanked the governor in his speech and reached over to shake his hand.
Gov. Bill Richardson appeared at Albuquerque Fire Department Fire Station No. 3 on Tuesday to announce $685,000 in discretionary stimulus money for firefighter air tanks and breathing equipment. The city is pitching in another $150,000. Copyright 2010 Albuquerque Journal