New East Providence firefighters graduate academy

Twelve "probies" join the department

EastBayRI.com ·

EAST PROVIDENCE — Commitment to the residents of the city and their fellow firefighters was the theme of the 33rd East Providence Fire Department Training Academy Graduation Ceremony held before a captive audience in the Arthur Elmasian Auditorium at the high school on the Thursday evening, Sept. 28.

Recent academy grads Brendan Dyer, Nicholas Simone, Christopher Harrington, Ricky Tiburcio, Adam Maroney, Justin Rapp, Gregory Dubee, Damon Solomon, Conrad Weeden, Piero Colonna, Jordan Baeszler and Erica Carcieri were formally inducted into the EPFD and will shortly begin their assignment at the four stations across the city.

Firefighter Dyer, headed to Station 2 in Riverside, earned the class valedictorian honor while Firefighter Dubee, assigned to the EPFD Headquarters at Station 1 on Broadway, was presented the newly renamed Scott Grace Award for leadership during the academy. EPFD Chief Oscar Elmasian recently christened the award in the memory of Firefighter Grace, a paramedic on Rescue 1 who passed away at the age of 44 earlier this year.

In his remarks, the chief stressed the need for the new firefighters to show respect for the residents of East Providence. “I want you to treat them like they were from your own family,” Chief Elmasian said, adding it was crucial the new firefighters showed dedication to the job and commitment to their families away from it.

Fire Department of New York Firefighter Brian Bolinger delivered the keynote address to the graduates. Still an active service member, Firefighter Bolinger is a member of the elite United States Army Ranger in Operational Detachment Alpha as a medic/sniper in the Army in addition to his duties with the FDNY. He urged the new EPFD firefighters to show “respect, humility and commitment” to the community they serve as well their fellow firefighters.

The ceremony, MCd by EPFD Captain Michael O’Melia, also featured a 15-minute video of the “probies” during their final seven weeks of training in city. The recruits spent their initial nine weeks of preparation in the inaugural class of firefighters attending the Rhode Island Municipal Fire Training Academy in Exeter.

In concert with their assignments, the probationary firefighters have once again been paired with a veteran EPFD member in a one-year mentor program. Chief Elmasian said the program is in place to help the incoming firefighters assimilate into station life and allow them to have an experienced peer to use as a sounding board for any questions or concerns they have about their new positions.

Of the event, which saw two of the department’s trucks flying the American Flag off its extended ladders greet guests outside the auditorium, Chief Elmasian said, “It was a very nice ceremony, probably the best we’ve had.”

— Photos by Rich Dionne

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