By Hannah Gaber
Arizona Public Media

Firefighter putting out fire Spotlight

3/20/12

This week Tucson Fire Department added 27 new firefighters to its staff, a move that comes after years of budget restraints have limited the department's ability to expand its ranks.

Each new firefighter completed a 20-week training course. They took weekly academic tests and completed rigorous physical training. Thirty-three recruits started in the training course last year and 27 completed it.

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The graduates mark the first new hires since 2009, due in part to city budget restraints.

Attending the academy is something firefighters always remember, said Barrett Baker, a spokesman for Tucson Fire Department.

"My start date of my academy was July 3, 2000. It’s a date that, for whatever reason, it’s almost like a birthday. It’s a day that you never really forget because it really is that start date to a career,” Baker said.

The graduates started working at their new stations Monday. They are working 24-hour shift rotations under the supervision of senior firefighters and station captains.

Hannah Gaber is a University of Arizona intern at Arizona Public Media.