TOLEDO, Ohio — It's graduation season and that also goes for those who will soon serve the community.
Toledo Fire & Rescue Department's newest recruits are ready. They're the first to finish a new style of intensive training.
Class 295 survived a grueling five-week training program. It was the division's first accelerated program.
"Oh man, this training was intense," recruit Ryan Bastien said. "It's really humbling. From day one, it was an eye-opener. I thought I was prepared, or I had an idea what to expect, and I wasn't."
In those five weeks, they received all the training that they need to complete the program, including hands-on training with real-life scenarios.
"These recruits go through, in one week of fire training, it's upwards of 30 to 40 live fires scenarios that we put them through, from first floor fires to high-rise fires to basement fires," TFRD Capt. Matt Viertlbeck said.
All 13 recruits have what it takes and will become part of TFRD, but one recruit is also preparing for a speech during the graduation ceremony as he was selected for the class representative award.
"It's a huge honor my classmates chose me as a representative from the class and to have that faith that they trust me," Bastien said. "I'm speechless."
These young men and women start their first day on the job Monday and TFRD will welcome in another new fire class in just two weeks.
That class will be traditional training, rather than this accelerated program.