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Beecher graduates Firefighting Academy, department at full staff

July 23, 2014 | Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW – East Longmeadow firefighter Christopher Beecher graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy at the Department of Fire Services in Stow on July 18.

Beecher, who has been with the Fire Department since January, was part of the academy’s 214th class, along with 67 other recruits from throughout the state.

“Chris recently completed the training and we’re very excited and proud of him,” Fire Chief Paul Morrissette told Reminder Publications.

Morrissette said he was unable to attend the graduation due to the gas leak that occurred during the Elm Street reconstruction project that day, but Selectman William Gorman and Father Tim Sheranko, department chaplain, were in attendance. Gorman presented Beecher with his diploma.

“It was really nice of Mr. Gorman to be able to be there,” Morrissette said. “It’s great that someone from the town was able to be there to recognize his accomplishment.”

During the nine-week training, students receive classroom instruction, physical fitness training, firefighter skills training and live firefighting practice, according information provided by the Fire Department.

In order to graduate, trainees must demonstrate proficiency in life safety, search and rescue, ladder operations, water supply, pump operation as well as fire attack operations, which can range from mailbox fires to multiple floor or room structural fires.

All academy participants leave the program certified at the firefighter I and II levels. They are also certified hazardous materials first responders.

“This rigorous professional training provides our newest firefighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” Deputy State Fire Marshall Peter J. Ostroskey said.

Morrissette said the Fire Department is operating at a full staffing level. He noted that Lt. Gary Savaria is scheduled to retire later this year, but firefighter Michael Minahan recently joined the department and will be part of the academy’s 215th class, starting in October.

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