Future firefighters start hands-on training

By Jillian Marshall

June 11, 2014 Updated Jun 11, 2014 at 11:22 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) After it took nearly the entire department to fight fires at a historical building downtown this spring and an old warehouse on the city's west side this week, they are now training the biggest class of rookies in decades.

All 15 Binghamton trainees and an Endicott rookie got their first chance Wednesday to get their hands on some equipment. It's the department's largest class of newcomers since the 1970s.

"This is the enjoyable part of their training, it the hands-on. You can only sit around in a classroom so much, even though it's important, this is really where if you would the rubber meets the road," said Binghamton Asst. Chief Richard Allen, Jr.

The trainees tried their hand at hose stretches, hand lines and spray patterns.

They practiced straight and fog spray patterns. Firefighters said it is harder than most people think.

"Being the first time that I actually worked a hose, it is. It is a force nobody really realizes," said Brad Guasconi, a Binghamton trainee and Marine veteran.

Also on Wednesday, the group was able to use some of their math and physics skills to calculate how much water should be pumped out of the truck into the hoses.

The future firefighters train Tuesday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in and out of the classroom.

A graduation is scheduled for Sept. 5.