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Fire academy is a hot ticket

Officials expect 1,500 to 2,000 at orientation, despite few openings.

August 25, 2010|By Gretchen Meier, gretchen.meier@latimes.com
(Tim Berger/Leader )

Burbank fire officials expect up to 2,000 applicants to attend an orientation for the next academy as the department gears up to hire eight to 10 recruits.

The recruiting period for the latest fire academy ends Friday, the first time Burbank has participated in a tri-city session with Glendale and Pasadena since 2008.

The department expects 1,500 to 2,000 prospective candidates to attend an orientation Sept. 11 at Forest Lawn.

After administering the written exam, fire officials will conduct oral interviews during November, with the hope of assembling a competitive list to send on for background checks and interviews with the fire chief, said Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Lenahan.

Glendale, which hired 11 new recruits in June, has no plans to hire for the upcoming spring.

"We enjoy doing [the tri-city academy] and I know it's a good thing, but right now we don't have an active list. We accounted for any planned retirements and promotions in this last round of hiring," Glendale Fire Capt. Stuart Stefani said.

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The Pasadena Fire Department will not know until after Jan. 1 if it will be able to fill the openings in its department due to budget restrictions. The city has a list of 12 to 20 people it had anticipated hiring, officials there said.

Even if the trio becomes an academy of one, the Burbank Fire Department will go it alone, if necessary, Lenahan said.

"Because of the budget crises, we are trying to consolidate certain operations and positions, but now we are ready to begin the hiring process again."

The academy comes on the heels of the Burbank Fire Department's acquisition of a new 100-foot aerial ladder truck.

The truck was driven from a production plant in Clintonville, Wis., before being outfitted for its use in the field.

It will replace the truck at Station 11 on Orange Grove Avenue, which will be moved to Station 13. The current truck at Station 13, located on Thornton Avenue, will be retired, fire officials said.

Powered by a clean-burning diesel engine, the truck also has a regeneration system to eliminate the release of carbon gases. It is equipped with rescue and ventilation equipment, and the large ladder can be completely raised in 60 seconds, officials said.

The "very green" vehicle enables firefighters to perform rescues quickly and efficiently, Lenahan said.

Three new low-emission rescue ambulances also are at open bid.

The new Burbank recruits will put out their first flames in 2011 alongside the new rescue ambulances.

All of the new vehicles are paid for using a dedicated fund that the department pays into every year for each vehicle in order to save for its replacement. The new truck, for example, was funded by the 17-year service life of the previous truck.

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