THE BRONX - The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has begun rolling out a new campaign to attract a more diverse pool of applicants wanting to become firefighters.

According to FDNY statistics, there are only 29 female firefighters within the department and only 9 percent of the force is black or Hispanic.

The department has been on a hiring freeze since 2007 after a federal judge ruled the FDNY must restructure its application tests because they discriminated against minorities.

The department is now spending more than $1 million to get the word out to possible new applicants.

The FDNY says a first-year firefighter can make $40,000 a year and the salary climbs to $100,000 in four years, along with a competitive health and benefits package.