It wasn’t but just one week ago Thursday that Recruit Class 67 from the Connecticut Fire Academy witnessed firsthand the realities of the job they’ve been training for the past 16 weeks.
“To look down each city block to see a sea of blue was just surreal,” recruit Ryan Tiroccchi said.
Tiroccchi, one of the recruits who attended fallen New Haven firefighter Ricardo Torres Jr’s funeral last Thursday. On Thursday he and his fellow 37 recruits, now firefighters themselves, headed to to 19 departments across the state after their graduation.
“Over the course of the academy we’ve just noticed the camaraderie amongst all of us and that just kind of drives us to work harder keep going keep pushing,” Tiroccchi said.
“They really shined once they got here, they started working hard,” Alan Zygmunt, with the Connecticut Fire Academy said.
The recruits’ first four weeks of the program were all through Zoom because of the pandemic and the remainder of their 700 hour program was spent on site full time practicing physical training, fire suppression, vehicle extrication, rope, elevator, confined space and firefighter rescue.
“We have them respond just as if they would on a regular work shift and they never know what the call is going to be until they get dispatched to it,” Zygmunt said.
“I’m honored to actually to be able to present them with their certificates,” New Canaan Chairman of the Fire Commission Jack Horner said.
For parents like Maureen Bailey, it’s a milestone worth marking the occasion.
“Everything he does and touches, he just wanted to help people,” Bailey said.
For recruits like Tiroccchi the start of a lifelong pride, honor and responsibility of responding to emergencies.
“That just makes us realize that whatever happens when the tones drop, when the call goes out we don’t decide, we just, we go,” Tiroccchi said.