BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The Bridgeport Fire Department received a big boost to its ranks last week when 22 new firefighters graduated from the Connecticut State Fire Academy at a ceremony at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
The nearly two dozen new firefighters represent the diversity of the community, including Mohammed Khan, the first Pakistani-American firefighter from Bridgeport. Most of those in the class are Bridgeport residents, and some are descendants or related to other city firefighters and police officers.
"This is a very proud day for Bridgeport," said Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode. "Each of these young firefighters is eager to serve their community and is embarking on a career in which they will be called upon at a moment's notice to put their lives on the line for the residents of Bridgeport. I am proud that we have such a diverse group and a new class comprising so many residents of the Park City."
The new class also includes some individuals with previous convictions on their records who are receiving a second chance. These graduates were evaluated by a panel under the supervision of Thode and the city Civil Service Commission and deemed suitable to become firefighters.
The addition of the new firefighters was paid for with the help of more than $2.7 million in funding by a federal SAFER grant awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With this new batch of firefighters, the Bridgeport Fire Department now stands at full capacity of 288 firefighters.
A total of 59 new Connecticut firefighters graduated from the State Fire Academy after completing 14 weeks of training, which began on Aug. 29.
"These new firefighters will be dedicated to their community and to each other," Thode said. "I am very grateful to Mayor Ganim and his staff as well as our federal representatives in Washington DC for helping us secure the funding that proved critical to enabling us to add this new class of firefighters and keep Bridgeport residents more safe. I look forward to seeing these new probational firefighters out on the job in our neighborhoods.”
Khan was the commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony on Friday.
"Our families and friends should know that today's graduation marks the end of nothing," Khan said. "It is only the beginning of hopefully long and fruitful careers full of some bad days, but mostly good ones. It is our responsibility to do our best to keep the honor and respect for this job where it belongs, with our heads held high. We have a responsibility to the people we serve, to the cities we represent, and the badge we have the privilege to wear."
The complete list of Bridgeport graduates from the Connecticut State Fire Academy includes:
- Agim Bungu
- Daniel L. Paz
- Angel L. Cintron
- Adalberto Planas Jr.
- Terrence J. Cramer
- Jorge A. Quintanilla
- Albert Figueroa Jr.
- Carlos A. Reyes
- Justin M. Fontan
- Jamie Rodriguez Jr.
- Darryl M. Gardner
- Angel L. Rosado II
- Kelley Geffert
- Jorge A. Ruiz Jr.
- Mohammad K. Khan
- Christopher D. Sanchez
- Robert Lopez, Jr.
- Eric Spooner
- Jose Munoz
- Herman A. Webb Jr.
- John F. Nuzzi, Jr.
- Daniel Wresilo
The graduates will be formally sworn in as Bridgeport firefighters at a ceremony at Bridgeport City Council Chambers on Friday Dec. 16.
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