Fire training gets real for Huntsville rookies


Huntsville Fire recruits take part in a live burn exercise on Beaver Dam Road

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The 2014 class of Huntsville Fire Department recruits battled their first fire Thursday morning. It was a controlled burn of a donated house on Beaver Dam Road.

The exercise is an integral part of what the department calls Rookie School. Captain Frank McKenzie says, "to actually get the live fire is really important for the guys to get the training, because once they get on shift, their very first day they could be in a fire."

There are 26 recruits this year. Following graduation on August 15th, 24 will receive assignments with the Huntsville Fire Department. Two will go on to attend a police academy as part of their training to work for the public safety department at Huntsville International Airport.

The recruits must pass a written test, a physical agility test, two background tests, a physical exam and an interview. At that point, they enter the 8-month rookie program.

While it's an intensive process, there is no shortage of interest in the job. The members of the 2014 class beat out approximately 700 other applicants to secure their spots in the academy. Rookie Casey Stafford says, "you make a difference in people's's a good choice."

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