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PR- 501-05
December 30, 2005


Class is One of the Most Diverse to Graduate from the Fire Academy

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 210 Probationary Firefighters.  The new Firefighters, or “Probies,” have successfully completed the rigorous 12-week training program at the FDNY Training Academy located on Randall’s Island.  Today’s class is one of the most diverse to graduate from the Fire Academy with more than 25% of the members representing the African-American, Hispanic and Asian communities. Several hundred friends and family members joined the Mayor and Fire Commissioner to congratulate the last class of 2005 at a ceremony held at Brooklyn College.

“It is an honor to welcome the last class of probationary firefighters to graduate in 2005,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Today you join the ranks of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect their fellow New Yorkers. Last year, the FDNY recorded the lowest number of fire deaths since 1919 and with one day remaining in 2005, the City is set to record the lowest four-year average for civilian fire deaths. The men and women of this Department represent the best of this City and we’re committed to providing them with the tools and training they need to improve upon that great achievement. I congratulate today’s graduates and wish them all the best as they move on to their next assignments in firehouses throughout the city.”

“Each of you has chosen a career which you’ll discover to be one of the most admirable and rewarding professions one can choose,” said Commissioner Scoppetta.  “Today, each of you becomes an important part of New York City’s identity.  You are the New York City Fire Department – an organization that for 140 years has kept watch over the people and property of this city.  There is no other organization like this in the world. Today we make it official: You are now members of the greatest fire department in the world.”

Today’s class is one of the most diverse to graduate from the Fire Academy and includes 21 African-Americans, 29 Hispanics, four Asian-Americans and three women. Also among today’s graduates are six members who previously served in the military overseas in Iraq. They include Probationary Firefighters Justin Bales (USMC), Timothy O’Neill (USMC), Joshua Wiener (USMC), Daniel Hansen (USMC), Cesar Perez (Army) and Anthony Delgado (Army).

In addition, this class includes Probationary Firefighter Christian Minara, whose father Firefighter Robert Minara of Ladder Company 25 was killed on September 11th. The class also collected more than $1,000 in support of Firefighter Matthew Long (Ladder Company 43), a fitness instructor at the Fire Academy who was critically injured on Thursday, December 22 when the bike he was riding was struck by a charter bus. The money will be donated to a charity in Firefighter Long’s name.

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, where they will gain field experience under the guidance of senior firefighters and officers. In keeping with tradition, the class-donated money to a number of FDNY related charities, including the Firefighter Thomas Brick Memorial Fund.

Probationary Firefighter Richard Sak earned the honor of today’s class Valedictorian, and Probationary Firefighter Joseph Esquivias was the class Salutatorian.  The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Mark Maresca.


Edward Skyler / Virginia Lam   (212) 788-2958


Francis X. Gribbon   (FDNY)
(718) 999-2056

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