Seventeen trainees of the Utica Fire Academy officially received their badges to become full-time firefighters this morning in Utica.
The graduation ceremony was held at Mohawk Valley Community College. The newly sworn-in members were joined by members of their respective fire departments, as well as family members and friends.
One of the departments receiving two new graduates today say that the 14-week program is similar to basic training for military soldiers.
“It's a tough program and they do a lot of physical fitness, and they’re in shape,” said Dan Smith of the Hornell Fire Department “They carry a lot of weight when they go into fires, so it’s going to help them and they have a head start on it. If they can maintain that, they’re going to be all set.”
The 17 graduates will serve in 11 different departments throughout the Mohawk Valley.