New fire academy grads called top-notch

Jan. 25, 2013 @ 05:29 PM

The size of the Durham Fire Department grew by 13 when its newest recruits graduated Friday night.

“This is probably the most prepared group of recruits we have ever graduated,” Dan Curia, interim chief of the department, said. “They’ve undergone more training than anyone else and received more certifications than anyone in the history of the department. I’m very pleased with the quality of this class.”

The graduation ceremony was held Friday afternoon at the Fire Administration Building on East Club Boulevard.

The recruits participated in a rigorous, 30-week academy, the longest of any Durham Fire Department academy.

They graduated as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT-I), certified as “intermediates.”

With this certification, firefighters respond to EMS calls and can give intravenous medications.

The new graduates are Jerahmie Arrington, Andrew Cagney, Kendrick Campbell, Sergio Espinoza, Michael Herdson, James Hicks, Jonathan Hunt, Andre Knight, Daniel Koppenhaver, James Putnam, Matthew Read, Benjamin Shaffer and Justin Totten.

Curia said the next fire academy to graduate in May includes candidates from a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. The department was awarded the grant in August. It pays the salary and benefits of new firefighters for their first two years, and the city picks up the rest of the costs, including uniforms, training equipment and supplies.

For more information, contact Sierra Jackson, public education coordinator for the Durham Fire Department, at 919-560-4233, ext. 19242 or by email at