SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The Seminole County Fire Department's new recruit class is the largest in the department's 47-year history.
After the deadly fire at an apartment building in New York on Sunday, Seminole County Fire Lt. Todd Zellers says it is important as ever to be fully staffed.
"The fire this weekend brings a lot of safety points forward. We need to make sure we have the proper safety in effect," he said.
The 35 new recruits trained at a mock two-story building burn to prepare for their first days on the job.
The structure may have been fake but the smoke and flames were real.
"They are seeing actual fire conditions in there. We set live fires in there. They are getting the smoke and the heat conditions that they would encounter in a normal fire," Lt. Zellers said.
Thirty of the upcoming graduates were funded by the national SAFER Grant, which helps fund firefighters in growing areas.
Zellers says areas like Altamonte Springs and Geneva need the resources.
"Very quickly we are growing. We have to continue to staff more fire trucks and get more people on scene and on to the fire quicker," he said.
This marks the last days of a 10-week training program.
The recruits graduate on Friday.
Watch FOX 35 News for the latest launch updates.