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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano to Preside Over Graduation Ceremony for First Class of Probationary Firefighters in 2014

June 3, 2014

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NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano today presided over a graduation ceremony for 286 Probationary Firefighters. The new class is one of the most diverse in the Fire Department’s history, with 45 percent of the Probationary Firefighters identifying as people of color – including 17 percent as Black and 24 percent as Hispanic – as well as four women. In addition, the class features 100 veterans of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

The new Firefighters, known as “probies,” graduated after completing a rigorous training program at the Fire Department’s Training Academy located on Randall’s Island. The Mayor and Commissioner congratulated the new class in a ceremony held at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, where they were joined by several hundred family members, friends and fellow firefighters.

“I applaud the men and women graduating today—representing New York’s bravest—for their commitment to protecting our fellow New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “They have chosen a noble profession in service of their city, and I know they will continue the Fire Department's tradition of excellence.”

“This diverse class of Probationary Firefighters continues the Department’s long-stated goal of better representing the city we serve; and boasts an extraordinary group of 100 veterans who have already proven themselves defending our nation,” said Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano. “They join a Department with an unmatched reputation for bravery and will soon be protecting millions of New Yorkers from fire and providing outstanding pre-hospital emergency medical care.”

Probationary Firefighter Joseph Andres was named valedictorian and Probationary Firefighter Michael Hayes was named salutatorian. The Physical Fitness Award was awarded to Probationary Firefighter William Roe.

Six of the graduates are related to FDNY members who died in the line of duty on September 11th, 2001. Probationary Firefighter Matthew Healey is the son of Lieutenant Michael Healey of Squad Company 41, Probationary Firefighter Keith Kerwin is the son of Lieutenant Ronald Kerwin of Squad Company 288, Probationary Firefighter Matthew Allen is the brother of Firefighter Richard Allen of Ladder Company15, Carl Asaro is the son of Firefighter Carl Asaro of Battalion 9, John Bergin is the son of Firefighter John Bergin of Rescue Company 5 and Chris Otten is the son of Firefighter Michael Otten of Ladder Company 35.

Seven of the graduates are related to FDNY members who lost their lives to illnesses directly related to their work at the World Trade Center on September 11th and in the rescue and recovery work that followed. Probationary Firefighter Scott Barocas is the son of Captain Sheldon Barocas of Engine Company 251, Probationary Firefighter Dennis Murray is the son of Lieutenant John Murray of Engine Company 165, Probationary Firefighter James Tancerdi is the son of Lieutenant Vincent Tancredi of Ladder Company 47, Probationary Firefighter Ryan Mosiello is the son of Fire Marshal Steve Mosiello,  Probationary Firefighter Thomas St. George is the son of Firefighter William St. George of Special Operations Command, Probationary Firefighter Lawrence Sullivan is the son of Firefighter Lawrence Sullivan of Rescue Company 5, and Probationary Firefighters Chris and Erik Wieber are the sons of Firefighter Robert Wieber of Engine Company 262. Probationary Firefighter Christopher Guerzon is the son of NYPD Detective Richard Guerzon, who was killed in the line of duty.

This class also includes 19 Probationary Firefighters who passed a promotional exam to the rank of Firefighter after previously serving as Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians with the FDNY Bureau of EMS.

Over their 18 weeks 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 training, collapse and confined space rescue training, auto extrication, building inspections and procedures for engine and ladder operations. The Probationary Firefighters will be assigned to firehouses throughout the city, where they will gain field experience under the guidance of senior Firefighters and Fire Officers.

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