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PR- 334-05
August 31, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 241 Probationary Firefighters. The new Firefighters, or "Probies," graduated after completing the rigorous 12-week training program at the FDNY Training Academy located on Randall's Island. Several hundred friends and family members joined the Mayor and Commissioner to congratulate this second class of 2005 at the ceremony held at Brooklyn College.

"It is an honor to once again welcome a new graduating class to the greatest fire department in the world," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Today's 241 graduates join a department whose brave and dedicated members put their lives on the line every day to protect their fellow New Yorkers - and they are doing it better then ever. Last year, the FDNY recorded the lowest number of fire deaths since 1919. We are committed to providing the department with the tools and training they need to improve upon that great achievement, including a new rope safety system for the most dangerous situations. I congratulate today's graduates and wish them all the best as they move on to their next assignments in firehouses throughout the city."

"Congratulations to all of today's graduates," said Commissioner Scoppetta. "The training you have received at the Academy will serve you well. Use those lessons wisely and build on the foundation that has been provided to you. As firefighters you will continually be challenged, but through the guidance of our members and the courage of our leaders you will have the strength to bravely serve our City with pride and professionalism. Today is the start of something incredibly special; serve the people of New York well."

Among today's graduates is Probationary Firefighter and Class Valedictorian Christopher Ganci, the son of former FDNY Chief of Department Peter Ganci who was killed on 9/11. Chief Ganci was a 33-year veteran of the Fire Department and the highest-ranking uniformed FDNY official to respond to the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Also among today's graduates is Probationary Firefighter Christopher Howard, whose father, Port Authority Police Officer George Howard, was also killed in the line of duty on 9/11. President Bush was given Police Officer Howard's badge during his visit to New York after the attacks.

In addition to Probationary Firefighters Ganci and Howard, four other class members also lost family members on September 11, 2001.

Today's class featured nine firefighters who previously served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. They include Probationary Firefighters Christopher Vogt (USMC), Darren Bould (USMC), Matthew Seeman (Army), Vincent Inglese (USMC), Michael Hengerle (USMC), Anthony Marchese (USAF), Hutch Ryder (USMC), William Garcia (Navy) and Joseph Conforti (Navy).

While in training at the Fire Academy, the "Probies" learned firefighting techniques such as basic engine and truck operations, fire suppression and containment, hazardous materials training, and terrorism awareness. The "Probies" will now be assigned to firehouses throughout the City of New York, where they will gain field experience under the guidance of senior firefighters and officers.

Prior to graduation, the Probationary Firefighters raised money to purchase international phone cards to send to Fire Department members currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The class raised more than $1,100 to purchase these phone cards, all in an effort to help keep those serving overseas in contact with family and friends back here in the states.

Probationary Firefighter Edward Poli was the class Salutatorian and The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Peter Zaccariello, who also was the winner of the Annual Five-Mile Police/Fire Run in Central Park.


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Francis X. Gribbon   (Fire Department)
(718) 999-2056

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