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Rochester Fire Department Welcomes 7 Graduates from State Academy

Staff report

Isaiah Hepburn receives his Rochester firefighter badge from Chief Felipe Hernandez. Photo provided by Rochester Fire Department

The Rochester Fire Department added seven firefighters in May after recruits graduated from the state fire academy in Montour Falls.

Isaiah Hepburn, Nelson Joaquin, Ethan Smith, Rashad Ragland, Greg Ransom Jr., Matt Alberts and Eduardo Fontan-Keating joined the department after completing 11 weeks of training.

The seven graduated from the Career Pathways to Public Safety Program. After graduating from high school, each was hired as a firefighter trainee in December 2019.

They will receive additional training from the Rochester Fire Department Training Division to learn operations and protocols specific to RFD before being assigned in the field.

“I want to congratulate our recruits for reaching this significant milestone on their journey to becoming Rochester firefighters and thank them for their commitment to keeping our city, residents and visitors safe,” Mayor Lovely Warren said in a news release announcing the graduations from the state academy.

“ … The dedication of our firefighters and excellence of our fire department plays a major role in our efforts to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities,” Warren said.

Nelson Joaquin receives his badge from RFD Chief Felipe Hernandez. Photo provided by Rochester Fire Department

Rochester did not run a fire academy in 2021 and the recruits participated in the state-run academy.

The new firefighters participated in more than 500 hours of classroom and practical training.

They received national certification from the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications in Firefighter I, Firefighter II and Hazardous Materials Operations.