HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A federal grant will enable seven firefighters to be hired in Huntington, where budget woes in West Virginia’s second-largest city prompted layoffs earlier this year.

The Huntington Professional Fire Fighters Association says in a news release that the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the city fire department a $714,000 grant through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program. The association says it worked closely with the International Association of Fire Fighters in applying for the two-year grant.

Seven Huntington firefighters were among 24 city employees laid off in January as Huntington Mayor Steve Williams announced $2.6 million in budget cuts.

Association President Raymond Canafax says the grant is a “good first step toward restoring public safety” in Huntington.