FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --It's was day one on Monday of Fresno Fire's academy, where 19 new recruits will take on 14 weeks of training.
"They're so eager, and we all remember being in that seat," said Chief Kerri Donis, Fresno Fire Department.
Chief Donis and fellow Fresno Fire veterans are looking forward to passing along their knowledge and skill set.
"It's good to have that energy re-infused into the department. It's good for everybody."
The vacancies being filled show progress, not just for the department-- that last year alone ran 42,000 calls-- but for the city.
"During the economic downturn we had to park about six apparatus, and those firefighters had to be put on relief poll," said Chief Donis.
Over the last two-and-a- half years, as money for the city has become available, city officials have reinvested in the department. Already adding two companies. Come August graduates will be ready to join the team in the field.
"They all depend on each other, whether it's the crew or... every team member has an important function or role to play," said Todd Tuggle, Deputy Chief.
In addition to technical skills, they're learning what it takes to be a Fresno firefighter.
"Getting them to work with our folks, every fire department is unique and every department has its own flavor and feel," said Tuggle.
This is the first recruit class the department has had since 2007. Fire officials said the learning doesn't stop at graduation.
"This is just the first day of training, and the last day of training, for them this is the last day of their careers on the job," said Tuggle.
Fresno Fire has already applied for the "Safer" grant, which could bring 20 new positions to the department. That class is slated for August.