The Lafayette Fire Department will maintain its Class 2 fire rating for another five years, although Fire Chief Robert Benoit said his department "still has a long way to go" to sustain the high rating.

"We in the fire department made sure we did everything we could" to keep the rating without incurring additional costs, Benoit said at the Feb. 4 Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting.

Benoit said a $1.7 million grant that funded 20 new firefighters and a new station helped secure the high rating, which ranges from 1 to 10, superior to inadequate.

Lafayette Utilities System director Terry Huval said 40 percent of the fire rating is based on the municipal water system's rating, which went up four points because of additional manpower made available to inspect and upgrade fire hydrants.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will provide the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant funds for two more years before the Lafayette Consolidated Government is handed the tab.