‘A selfless calling’; County has new firefighters

County welcomes 18 new firefighters.

The Burlington County Fire Service welcomed 18 new firefighters into its ranks last month during the county’s Fire Academy graduation and certificate ceremony.

The event was held at the Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT) and marked the end of the cadets’ academy training. Each graduate attended 59 training sessions totaling more than 200 hours in length.

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This year’s graduates were in the 100th class to have graduated from the five-month training program at the Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center in Westampton. The center provides training and education to county fire, emergency medical service (EMS), and law-enforcement professionals, as well as other emergency organizations that serve area communities.

Among the graduates was volunteer firefighter Dominic DiTore, who completed the county’s Firefighter 1 program. DiTore will begin his career answering 9-1-1 calls for the Mount Laurel Fire Department.

During the welcoming ceremony, John Armstrong, of the Jacobstown Fire Company, received the Chief William D. Constantine Leadership Award. Armstrong is also an active- duty chief master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.

Mason Mangione of the Medford Fire Department received the Army Specialist Benjamin Moore Award for most improved cadet, and John Brown, from the Delran Fire Department, received the academic achievement award.

Burlington County Commissioner Dan O’Connell was a guest speaker at the ceremony and congratulated each of the graduates. Also in attendance were Burlington County Public Safety Director Gary Gubbei; Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center Director Howard Black; senior fire instructor Alfred Desjardins; and Steven Taylor, program manager with the state’s Division of Fire Safety Office of Training and Certification.

O’Connell remarked on the altruistic service of firefighters and emphasized that residents have a crucial responsibility to continue their support of and appreciation for all first responders.

“To all our graduates, let me say this: Fighting fires and responding to emergencies is a selfless calling, full of risks and sacrifices,” the commissioner noted. “All of us here have a responsibility to ensure it is not a thankless one as well.”

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