With a fire extinguisher strapped to his back, Jeff Ponton gripped a pull-up bar one recent morning and lifted his 146-pound body while his classmates cheered him on.
“Up!” yelled Burbank Fire Capt. Tray White, 13 times. “C’mon Pon, 13!”
He finished the set, and hopped off.
“Next guy, let’s go!” White bellowed.
Ponton is one of nine people training for a job as a firefighter with the Burbank Fire Department.
Short-staffed by about 10 firefighters because of back-to-back retirements the last two years, the department is eager to integrate the new class, said Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan.
The nine recruits had just finished dragging fire hoses 100 feet, five times each, before heading to the pull-up bar, after which they threw ladders against the walls of the training tower and ran drills inside the tower. This all before 8 a.m.
If Ponton and his classmates make it through the 14-week academy, they’ve got the job.