Fire Commissioner Presides Over Graduation Ceremony for 291 Probationary Firefighters

October 19, 2018

On Friday, October 20th, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro presided over the graduation ceremony for 291 Probationary Firefighters.

There are 15 women in the class, the second largest group of female Firefighters to ever graduate from the Fire Academy in a single class. This brings the total number of female Firefighters to 87 – the highest total in FDNY history.

People of color comprise 42.27% of the 291 graduating probationary Firefighters – 23.37% identify as Hispanic, 14.09% as African-American, and 4.81% as Asian-American/Pacific Islander.

“The number of our female Firefighters grows with each class, and through their brave service these young women will now inspire other young girls across our city to one day follow their footsteps into the world’s greatest Fire Department,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “We know you are all ready, you have worked incredibly hard; and shown the great integrity and dedication this job demands, every Firefighter in our ranks has been where you are now.”

“You should be incredibly proud of your accomplishment, because we are all proud of the difficult work you’ve put in to reach this milestone in your young careers,” said Chief of Department James E. Leonard. “Our Department has endured our darkest days and thrived for 153 years because each generation has made sure the next generation is better trained and prepared to carry on the FDNY’s legacy.”

Probationary Firefighters Laura Savastano and Kelly Canham are following their fathers’ footsteps. Probationary Firefighter and squad leader Nicole Rizzi, was inspired by her Uncle, a retired Battalion Chief to join the FDNY.

“My father was a Battalion Chief, he worked in this Department for 30 years, he was a great man and he unfortunately passed away when I was 16,” said Probationary Firefighter Laura Savastano. “There are so many opportunities in this Department and I want to take advantage of any that come my way, I would tell young girls who dream about being a Firefighter to go for it.”

“My uncle, retired Battalion Chief Cecil Southern, was a big inspiration to me,” said Probationary Firefighter Nicole Rizzi. “This job has always been predominately male, so being a female, I would tell other girls to put your heart and everything you have into this if you want it. You will be able to do it, just never give up.”

For photos of the graduation ceremony, click here.