Calexico Firefighters Report Highest Workload, Lowest Base Pay

A clear sign that the Calexico Fire Department is no longer considered a top destination for employment as a firefighter is a decrease in its number of recent applicants.

In 2021, when the department announced it had six openings for firefighters, 12 people applied. Compared to the more than 200 individuals who applied for two openings in 1998, the former figure reflects an apparent lack of interest in the department as a place of employment, Calexico Firefighters Association officials said.

One reason for the apparent disinterest is the department’s base salary for firefighters, which this year stood equal to the state’s $15 minimum wage. Over the past 15 years, that hourly pay rate has risen only about $1, said department Engineer Matthew Bush.

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