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PR- 265-07
July 31, 2007


First Graduating Class to Complete New Longer Rigorous Training Course

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 265 Probationary Firefighters.  The new firefighters, or “probies,” graduated after completing the rigorous 18-week training program at the FDNY Fire Academy located on Randall's Island. This class received five additional weeks of training as part of this year’s unprecedented expansion of proby school. The class that starts next month will spend a further five weeks at the Academy for a total of 23 weeks of training. 

Among today’s graduates are 19 veterans of the US military, four of whom served in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Several hundred family members, friends and fellow firefighters joined the Mayor and Commissioner to congratulate the first class of 2007 at the ceremony held at the Colden Center at Queens College.

“Today, you join a proud history of courageous men and women who have devoted their lives to helping millions of New Yorkers,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “The hard work of your fellow Bravest have made this City safer than ever before, and now with the addition of more advanced training, I know you will continue that tradition and protect the bright future of this great City. I applaud you for choosing this noble career and offer my full support.”

“The New York City Fire Department has set the worldwide standard in firefighting and rescue operations, and this year’s additional training will only strengthen our ranks and better protect our newest members,” Commissioner Scoppetta said. “Our great success is due to the commitment we have to one another and the people of this City. Welcome to the family.”
Among today’s graduates are Probationary Firefighter Stuart Ingram, whose father is FDNY Battalion Chief Robert Ingram of the FDNY Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness. Before joining the Fire Department, Probationary Firefighter Ingram served as a NYPD Police Officer. In March, he escaped serious injury when he arrested a man who stabbed him in the chest; fortunately, the knife struck the police shield on his uniform, which saved his life.

This class represents multiple branches of the armed forces, with 19 members having previously served in the U.S. military: Nathan Allanach (USMC), Leonard M. Bieler (Navy), Robert W. Bystricky (Navy), Joseph Connolly (Navy), Recordo Demetrius (USMC), Gregory J. Dicembri (Air Force), Brian Hinson (USMC), Jason Johnson (Air Force), Stephen Kotlarchyk (USMC), Michael Mehling (Navy), Andres F. Mendez (Army), Brett Munsey (Navy), Lance W. O’Byrne (USMC),  Jean-Paul Petit (Coast Guard), Gregory Rademacher (Army), Edwin Reynoso (ARNG), Robert Shannon (Air Force), Franklin R. Uceta (Army) and Jacob I. Uihlein (Army). Probationary Firefighters Demetrius, Kotlarchyk, Mendez and Reynoso served part of their time in the military in Iraq.
The Mayor congratulated Probationary Firefighter Sean Denigris for being today’s class valedictorian. Probationary Firefighter Michael Padula was the class salutatorian. The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Recordo Demetrius.

With five weeks of training added to the previous 13-week program at the Fire Academy, the Probationary Firefighters learned a variety of firefighting techniques, including hazardous materials training, aimed at increasing firefighter safety. More training hours, in the new course, were devoted to engine and ladder operations, as well as building construction and building inspection. The Probationary Firefighters will now be assigned to firehouses throughout the City, where they will gain field experience under the guidance of senior firefighters and officers.

While at the Fire Academy, the Probationary Firefighters raised money for the family of the Executive Officer of proby school, FDNY Lt. James Brennan, whose wife, Stacy, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, the Probationary Firefighters are all wearing pink ribbons in support of Lt. Brennan and his family.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958


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

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