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Canton welcomes 15 new firefighters

Photo Credit: Adam Herman

PHOTO: Canton's latest firefighters are sworn in.
By Adam Herman
Released/Published: Aug 15, 2008

Standing in the main truck bay of Station No. 1 in downtown Canton, Mayor William J. Healy II swore in 15 men and women as Canton's newest class of firefighters.

"You are entrusted with a special duty that few volunteer for," Healy said. "You protect our families and our neighbors when they are in grave danger, and for that, we will forever be thankful."

Healy addressed the firefighters in a special ceremony Friday morning as a group of several dozen attendees looked on, many of whom were there supporting friends and loved ones as they started their careers in the Canton Fire Department.

"Today is your first day as a Canton firefighter," Healy said. "We now hold you to a higher standard, and I have no doubt that you will uphold the fine tradition set by those who have worn the uniform before you."

Friday's swearing in event raised the total number of firefighters on the city's payroll from 163 to 178. The maximum authorized strength of the department is 203, but that number does not indicate the amount of firefighters necessary to operate at full strength, said Fire Chief Stephen Rich.

"We recently increased our authorized strength to account for future expansions within the city," Rich said. "With each annexation and new housing development, the needs of the department change. Now that we have this extra breathing room, we will be able to make future hires when we need to."

Rich said the last time his department had this many active firefighters was back in 2002, citing retirements, budget concerns, and other factors for the slow decline.

Of the fifteen firefighters sworn in, eleven are fully trained and will begin a five-week department orientation class immediately. Four other rookies must take varying levels of additional coursework before they are considered fully trained, as some recruits are coming into the department with more experience than others.

Healy announced during the ceremony that after orientation classes are finished in September, the department would be considered fully operational – meaning that the current practice of closing fire stations on a rotating basis to lower overtime costs will soon come to an end.

"Though we thankfully never had to deal with a situation where fire service was interrupted because of the rotated station closings, residents can now sleep more comfortably knowing that their neighborhood station will once again be open around the clock," Healy said.

Each recruit will earn roughly $35,000 in starting annual salary, according to Rich. Individual salaries will depend largely upon each firefighter's level of training and experience, he said.

2008 Class of Firefighters (ranked by seniority)

Randall Lossick
Benjamin Shellenbarger
Daniel Kinzler
Scott Hanlin
Brian Collins
Jacob Robinson
Michael Rodriques, Jr.
Marvin Willock
Lonny Rapalo
Spencer Carter
Josh Clements
Kevin Gordon
James Dull
Matt Leidel
Lisa Brown

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