ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s week two for new recruits going through a 10-week academy, where firefighters joining the department learn the ins and outs of the Rochester Fire Department.
Captain Craig Connelly is a 15-year department vet and is leading the academy. He’s in charge of showing the new recruits how to fight fires the Rochester way.
With a bigger class of seven recruits and a new fire chief, Captain Connelly said it’s a new chapter for the department.
“We’re excited, it’s kind of the next phase, next chapter of Rochester fire,” he said. “It seems to be more a cohesive team.”
A team the new recruits will be a part of in no time.
“With the retirement, you know, we've lost a lot of experience, lot of tight friendships, you know, tight bonds. But it doesn't take long before they fit in get acclimated, become part of the with the team,” Capt. Connelly said. “With the dangers of our job you form a tighter bond and trust in people pretty quickly.”
And it’s working with these people new recruit, Eric Petersen, said he’s most excited about.
“The firefighters that I'm working with now, we've pushed each other to work really hard,” Petersen said. “I know this is going to be a great academy. And I know it's not going to change when I get on shift it's going to be even more so. So, you treat them like they're your second family, because they are.”
After asking why Petersen chose this department after applying to multiple in Minnesota, he said after living in Rochester for over 30 years he loves the city and it’s a great place to work. His brother is also a member of the Rochester Fire Department.