Fresno Fire Department hires 13 new firefighters

The Fresno Fire Department is preparing for a busy fire season ahead. But this summer, they'll have some extra help after hiring 13 new firefighters.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Meet the Fresno Fire Department's newest class of firefighters. The 13 men are from across California and Arizona. Just weeks into the job, they're already making their mark.

"This is pretty significant. We hired 13 probationary firefighters. We haven't hired since 2008. February 2008 was the last class that we ran through a rookie school," said Pete Martinez, public information officer for the Fresno Fire Department.

On Friday, the new hires got a chance to get some hands-on experience at the training tower in Downtown Fresno as a part of the department's live fire training.

"Putting them in some hot work where they're actually inside an atmosphere that's very similar to a fire we would encounter in one of the structures we respond to. We're able to get them to test their skills and actually see how they handle under the performance of the fire," Fresno Fire Captain Brian Price said.

Action News got a chance to see what these firefighters will encounter, climbing flights of stairs to learning how smoke moves in a burning room. The rookies also got a chance to get on top of the roof and practice vertical ventilation. The men were all previously firefighters at other agencies, but this training helps rebuild their skills and learn teamwork. Fire officials say that will be vital in the coming months.

"With the amount of fires we had last year and the amount of fires we expect this year with the heat and the drought, every body counts," said Martinez.

With this new hiring class, fire officials say three more firefighters will be equipped to fight fires every day. This class of firefighters will graduate from the academy at the end of the month. Then they'll be assigned out to fire stations to help fight fires across the city.
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