FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Michael Lombardi was first exposed to firefighting as a teen.
His family friend, an Atascadero firefighter, brought him on a ride along while on the job.
"Fell in love with it that day and I've been doing it ever since," he said.
That passion turned into his career path.
Fast forward several years, Lombardi would become a volunteer firefighter with Atascadero, and a seasonal firefighter with Kern County, before getting the call to Fresno.
"Probably one of the better feelings I've had, just knowing all of the hard work I put into getting a full-time job was finally coming true," he said.
That also meant moving his family from the Central Coast to the Valley, a community that embraced them, as did his firehouse family, something he says makes working holidays easier
"Being surrounded by people you feel is your extended family is really comforting," he said.
For the first time in four years, Fresno fire is adding to that family.
"One of the things we want to do is represent our community with people that are from the area so they can give back," says Fresno Fire PIO Shane Brown. "A lot of it hinges on whether we get the safer grant to make these hires, so plan on having your EMT by summertime and you'll be in really good shape."
The fresno fire website lists the criteria plus opportunities to virtually meet with firefighters to discuss their day-to-day.
"There's a lot of stuff that happens that most people aren't used to, and it's definitely a complete life change," Brown said.
The year 2020 was an explosive year for Fresno Fire, responding to almost 5,800 fires, 2,000 more than they've ever seen in a single year.
Now they're looking local to add to the ranks.
"Any background, we can make you a firefighter if you have the right attitude," Brown said. "You know that's going to be the biggest thing we're looking for: great attitudes that want to work hard and earn their spot here.
Fresno Fire Department hiring for first time in four years