6 recruits join local fire department after completing 10-week training

IDAHO FALLS — The newest firefighters with the Idaho Falls Fire Department are set to begin their first shifts after going through the recruit academy.

Six recruits went through 10 weeks of rigorous training to fill the six vacancies left from retirements and other circumstances. Culminating both classroom and hands-on instruction were drills with live fire at the Department’s training grounds in the days before Friday’s graduation ceremony.

“It’s pretty exciting for me to see these guys go from 10-weeks ago when we started and see the progress that they made,” IFFD Capt. Scott Wetzel tells EastIdahoNews.com.

The new firefighters not only battle fires but can respond to other emergencies as well. Training through the last two and a half months has covered everything from swift water rescue training, search and rescue, wildland firefighting and other first responder training. However, the process of becoming a firefighter in one of Idaho’s largest departments took much more.

New recruits with the Idaho Falls Fire Department discuss what they did well and could improve on after a training exercise. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

All of the recruits in this year’s course have some previous experience with a fire department, either as a volunteer or paid professional. IFFD spokeswoman Kerry Hammon explains before coming to the academy, each recruit had to complete an online application, take a written exam and physical ability test. The scores were reviewed and the chosen candidates went through extensive interviews.

“As soon as we hire, we begin training staff to lead this department someday,” Fire Chief Duane Nelson says in a news release. “They have worked hard to be here and I congratulate them on their accomplishment and look forward to working with them.”

Firefighters make entry into the burn trailer where they experienced real flames first hand. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

With the firefighters graduating, they will begin their time as probationary firefighters. Senior firefighters and department leadership will mentor the new firemen as they continue to train and begin their careers with the department.

“Our guys are here to help. They want to help, they want to be out in the public and do good things for the community,” Wetzel says.

The newest firefighters to join the Idaho Falls Fire Department along with Capt. Scott Wetzel who oversaw their academy training. | Courtesy Idaho Falls Fire Deparmtnet

The new firefighters joining the department’s ranks are:

  • Henry Auerback, originally from Monrovia, California, previously worked at Culver City Fire in California working six years as an EMT.
  • Edwin Chavez was born in Los Angeles, California but then moved to Las Vegas Nevada. Once in Sin City, his passion for firefighting grew after joining the Las Vegas Fire Explorer Program. Chavez has worked as a wildland firefighter for the National Park Service in Lake Mead, volunteered for the Ammon Fire Department and was a full-time firefighter for the Blackfoot Fire Department.
  • Levi Harper, a Rigby native, previously worked for the Central Fire District, Blackfoot Fire Department and as a dispatcher at Idaho State University Public Saftey.
  • Nic Magliocco received his Bachelor’s Degree in forestry from the University of Vermont
    and a Master’s Degree in Education from Sacred Heart University. He previously worked for the Ammon Fire Department, was a middle and high school science teacher and is a fishing guide.
  • Brock McCue comes from Columbia Falls, Montana where he worked at the Columbia Falls Fire Department. He has experience as a wildland firefighter with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and as a firefighter for the Frenchtown Rural Fire District.
  • Nate Tavernier comes from Pocatello where he attended Idaho State University and served as a volunteer firefighter with the Chubbuck Fire Department

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