In a tradition that has been carried on for about 10 years, the latest group of Chattanooga firefighter recruits posed in front of a blazing house on Cowart Street for their class picture.
The 23 recruits trained in the house before it was set afire Friday. They were required to learn search and rescue techniques with theatrical smoke and had to use blacked-out face masks to impair their vision.
The academy lasts just over six months. In that time, firefighters have to learn how to combat fires, starting from a simple pallet fire up to complicated structures.
"They work their way up to this," said Bruce Garner, public information director for Chattanooga Fire Department.
With the fire suppression part of their training behind them, recruits still will have to climb a 109-foot aerial ladder tilted at a 70-degree angle; be trained as emergency medical technicians who can start an IV; master vehicle extraction to save victims trapped in crashes; and receive hazardous materials training.
The cadets' graduation is set for May.