Despite the pandemic and plans by the Rochester Fire Department to not run an academy in 2021, seven city residents nevertheless are headed to firefighter training with the goal of becoming sworn Rochester firefighters.
Matthew Alberts, Eduardo Fontan-Keating, Nelson Joaquin, Isaiah Hepburn, Rishad Ragland, Gregory Ransom and Ethan Smith were scheduled to begin training the week of Feb. 8 at the New York State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls.
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 completed 1,200 hours of training and obtained state emergency medical technician training.
The trainees helped Rochester firefighters with community education, such as school presentations, and performed clerical and other duties. They did not go on fire calls.
Being a trainee is the step before being a recruit, and trainees can earn appointment to the next academy class.
Because of COVID-19, RFD had suspended its academy. However, it arranged for the seven to become recruits at the state academy.
They are scheduled to finish at the state academy in May and return to Rochester for a month of additional preparation before they join the line.