San Diego Fire-Rescue graduates largest academy class - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Fire-Rescue graduates largest academy class

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The largest group of recruits graduated from the San Diego Fire Department's academy Thursday night, making it one of the biggest nights in the department's history.

Beginning Saturday the newly graduated recruits will begin their one-year probationary period, and with an increase in the budget they will not be the last of graduates to serve the community. 

The 81st class of San Diego Fire-Rescue recruits was the largest class with 42 recruits - a dozen more than the previous academies.

"For the citizens it's a good investment anytime we can graduate more recruits out of the academy. They get higher service levels, both the staffing as well overall service they receive," said Capt. Mike Colafrancesco, SDFR Academy Coordinator.

Only a year ago the fire department faced concerns over less qualified candidates, and with a larger class the challenge of effective training in 16 weeks.

This year, not only is it the biggest graduating class, it's also the sharpest.

Ten fire recruits passed certifications on the first try - meaning more highly trained firefighters are taking the pledge to protect San Diego.

The next academy is scheduled to begin in October.

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