Fifteen new firefighters are putting their skills to work in the Allentown Fire Department.
They were among 19 graduates of the Allentown Fire Academy who were honored during a ceremony Friday at Alumni Hall Theatre at Cedar Crest College. The class also included four firefighters who are joining the fire departments in the City of Bethlehem and the City of Easton.
New Allentown firefighters Rodney Bolton, Robert Spitko II, Arthur Scott III, Nicholas Saffioti, Theodore Dale, Peter Zondlo, Jason Campanella, Zachary Shepard, Anthony Rosanio, Timothy Bruce, Steven Costa, Nathan Krajcirik, Austin Deutsch, Kevin Jefferson and Mike Evans were presented with their badges by Mayor Ed Pawlowski.
They each received graduation certificates from the mayor and Allentown Fire Chief Bob Scheirer.
“Public safety is the city’s number one priority,” said the mayor. “This is a difficult and dangerous profession. Our citizens are grateful that you are willing to risk your own lives to save theirs and preserve their property. We deeply appreciate your commitment, courage and bravery.”
“This is a very responsive department,” said Chief Bob Scheirer. “We answer more than 9,000 service calls annually.” Scheirer advised the graduates to remember the importance of team work that was stressed during their training. “It is essential that the fire service be able to operate as a cohesive unit both in the field during fire and other emergencies as well as during the hours spent in the station house.”
The addition of the 15 new firefighters brings the total strength of the department to 124 firefighters.
The class recently completed 18 weeks of training at the Allentown Fire Academy. The firefighters received classroom instruction, intense physical training and participated in hands-on drills. They obtained national certifications as firefighters, and drivers and operators of pumper and aerial vehicles. Other certifications include emergency medical technician, basic vehicle, water and elevator rescues and hazardous materials operations.
Seven of the new Allentown firefighters are military veterans. Firefighters Bolton, Spitko, Scott and Jefferson served in the U.S. Marines. Firefighter Campanella served in the U.S Army. Firefighter Evans served in the U.S. Navy and Firefighter Krajcirik served in the U.S. Air Force.
Firefighter Saffioti earned a B.A. in Fire Science from New Jersey City University.
Firefighter Rosanio was a volunteer firefighter for six years in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
The new Allentown firefighters officially go on shift duty Saturday.