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PR- 015-08
January 16, 2008


First Graduating Class to Complete New Expanded 23-Week Training Program

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire  Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 274 Probationary Firefighters. The new firefighters, known as  “probies,” graduated after completing the rigorous 23-week training program at the Department’s Fire Academy located on Randall’s Island. This class was the first to receive 10 additional weeks of training as part of last year’s unprecedented expansion of the Fire Academy. The previous graduating class received 18 weeks of training. Several hundred family members, friends and fellow firefighters joined the Mayor and the Commissioner to congratulate the second class of 2007 at the ceremony held at the Colden Auditorium at Queens College.

“Today, you join the storied ranks of the greatest fire department that has ever existed,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This class has received more advanced training than any other in the City’s history, and I am confident the skills you learned will better prepare you to handle any type of emergency, anywhere, at any time. Millions of New Yorkers depend on the Bravest, and I commend you for accepting such a challenge and choosing such an honorable career.”

“Becoming a New York City firefighter means the willingness to risk your life to save the life of another, and this class understands that commitment more than most,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “Decades ago, new members worked in a firehouse under the mentorship of an officer before they received any formal training. Today, you have completed 23 weeks of the most advanced training available, and your reward is the greatest job in the world.”

Among today’s graduates are Probationary Firefighter Matthew Pudjak whose brother, Firefighter Daniel F. Pudjak of Ladder Company 146, died in the line of duty on June 21, 2007, while operating at a fire in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Probationary Firefighter Scott LaPiedra, whose father, Captain Scott LaPiedra of Ladder Company 176, died on July 4, 1998, nearly a month after sustaining critical injuries while battling a fire in East New York, Brooklyn on June 5. Probationary Firefighter Robert Wallace lost his father, Lieutenant Robert Wallace of Engine Company 205, who responded to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Twenty-two members of the class are veterans of the U.S. military, including nine of whom have served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and/or Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. The class represents multiple branches of the armed forces including: Daniel Abramowski (Navy), Cody Baker (USMC), Dale Catlett (Air Force), Thomas Christensen (Coast Guard), Jeffrey Daniels (Air Force), Joseph Ferris (USMC), Richard Garcia (Coast Guard),

Philip Giordano (Army), Kevin Hallinan (Army), Kievon Harper (Coast Guard), Thomas Herrick (Coast Guard), Edward Kelly (Air Force), Adam Matos (Air Force), Anthony Mazzariello (USMC), Christopher Muccini (USMC), Michael Mulhall (Navy), Michael Mullins (Air Force), Oscar Robles (Air Force), Michael Schmidt (USMC), Timothy Tamburello (Army), Joel Van Wieren (Army) and Daniel Walsh (Coast Guard).

Forty-six members of the class have fathers who are active or retired FDNY members, including Probationary Firefighter Dennis Moriarty, whose father, Edward Moriarty, served as the Chief of Personnel. Probationary Firefighters Michael Abbott, Philip Darcey, Edward Kelly and Robert Wallace become the third generation of their families to graduate from the Academy.

The Mayor congratulated Probationary Firefighter Kristopher Grills for being today’s class valedictorian. Probationary Firefighter Michael Liverani was the class salutatorian. The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Hugh Barr.

With 10 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. Additional training hours were devoted to engine and ladder operations, fire prevention, 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 $2,000 for the family of Lieutenant John H. Martinson of Engine Company 249 who made the Supreme Sacrifice while operating at a fire in Brooklyn on January 3, 2008. They raised another $2,000 to help cover expenses for a firefighter assigned to the Academy whose wife is in need of a lung transplant.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

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

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