Fire Commissioner Presides Over Graduation Ceremony for 301 Probationary Firefighters

September 24, 2019

On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro presided over the graduation ceremony for 301 Probationary Firefighters.

Among the graduates are 21 legacies, whose fathers gave their lives protecting New York City and 16 women, the second largest group in FDNY history.

“Many of their fathers were killed on September 11th, several others died of World Trade Center illnesses, and others lost their lives in the course of their duty, bravely working to save and protect others,” said Commissioner Nigro. “Today, these 21 legacies are no longer children dreaming of the careers their fathers loved, and of serving in the world’s greatest fire department – today, they have fully achieved their dreams.”

Probationary Firefighter Rebecca Asaro, who graduated today alongside her brother, Probationary Firefighter Marc Asaro, is following in the footsteps of their father, Firefighter Carl Asaro of Engine 54, one of the 343 FDNY members killed on September 11th.

“Every day that I came to the academy, I was grateful to be there and to follow in the footsteps of my father, brothers, uncle, and all those who came before. This is exactly where I want to be,” said Probationary Firefighter Rebecca Asaro.

The Asaros also have two siblings already on the job – Firefighters Matthew and Carl Asaro, Jr.

“It is an amazing experience, to be able to do the same thing that my father had done, and had given his life for. It’s more incredible that my sister and I are doing it together. It’s a proud feeling. My sister and I push each other to be better every day,” said Probationary Firefighter Marc Asaro.

Class Valedictorian, Probationary Firefighter James Devane, addressed the class and told his personal story of being severely burned when he was trapped in a basement fire nearly a decade ago. He spent 21 days in the intensive care unit and nearly died from his injuries. “I was then told I would never be 100% back to normal again. Well, I am. While I was home recovering I was told I would never be able to fulfill my dream of becoming a New York City Firefighter. Today, I get to say I am.”

During their time at the FDNY Training Academy, the class was extensively trained in all aspects of their job as Firefighters, including fire suppression and medical response, hazardous materials, collapse and confined space rescue training, auto extrication, building inspections, and procedures for engine and ladder operations.

“Each time the tones go off, you’ll quickly respond to a call for a fire, a medical emergency, a gas leak, a motor vehicle accident, or any number of emergencies. There will be many similar calls, but there are no routine calls. said Chief of Department John Sudnik. “You’ll be part of a highly-professional team of New York City Firefighters all working together to fulfill the mission of saving lives.”

This graduating class of Probationary Firefighters represents the growing diversity of the Department with 37 percent identifying as people of color – including 12 percent as black, 20 percent as Hispanic, and 5 percent as Asian. Sixteen women will also be graduating tomorrow.

“It’s empowering to see and be surrounded by so many females with the same goals as me. I’m really happy that there are so many powerful, strong women on the job,” said FDNY Probationary Firefighter Kristen DeRop. “I have always wanted to be a Firefighter and I made sure I was prepared for the academy.”

During their time at the academy, the Probationary Firefighters donated 276 pints of blood, 185 registered as bone marrow donors, and 85 registered as organ donors. The class donated over $11,240 to four charities and the family of Probationary Firefighter Steven Pollard, who made the Supreme Sacrifice on January 6th, 2019.

For photos of the graduation ceremony, click here.