FDNY academy graduates most diverse class ever

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BROOKLYN (PIX11) — An FDNY graduating class made history this week.

“Firefighting is not in their blood, it is in their heart,” Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano told the class Tuesday at a ceremony held at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.

Some 286 men and women joined the ranks of the FDNY.

The city said this graduating class of Probationary Firefighters reflects the growing diversity of the Fire Department, with 45 percent of its members identifying as people of color, including 17 percent as Black and 24 percent as Hispanic, as well as four women.

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The June 2014 graduating class of FDNY probationary firefighters is the most diverse in the department’s history.

Charlotte Shannon’s graduation marked her joining with her father, active FDNY Firefighter Kevin Shannon who on Sept. 11, 2011, helped commandeer a city bus to get down to a burning World Trade Center. Kevin Shannon beamed with pride on Tuesday.

Shannon is one of four female graduates, bringing the total number of women in the ranks to 41 firefighters and officers. According to United Women Firefighters Association, New York City has not seen these numbers of women firefighters since 1982, when the first class of 41 women firefighters were hired from a court mandate.

The day was filled with overwhelming pride from families and from these men and women.

Outgoing Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano told the grads their life is on the line each and every day, but he said there is no better job in the world.

“Your work will save lives, make no mistake about that,” Cassano said.

According to the FDNY, these probationary firefighters will be assigned to firehouses throughout the city where they will now gain field experience under the guidance of senior firefighters and officers.