Largest fire academy class to be hired at Amarillo Fire Department

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 9:52 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 10:24 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Since 1993 the Amarillo fire department has only had one graduating class of cadets, until now. This new second graduating class is going through ‘live fire training’ this week.

For the past six months, the new cadets have been preparing to become new members of the Amarillo Fire Department.

This week they are getting hands-on experience by learning how to fight a basement fire, search and rescue, and water supply operation training.

“Well we have to have that hands-on experience and we have to provide that training in the most realistic way possible, still staying within safety parameters as well. So that’s what we do we have to have that hands-on and that training going on in order to get them ready to go out and serve the citizens,” says Dana Havlik

Havlik also says this is the largest fire academy class that AFD has hired in the known history of the fire department--at 22 cadets. He says a typical cadet class is around 12.

However, with new station number 14 in the works, having this many new men and women makes a big difference, and some cadets are excited to go to work.

Amarillo Fire Department Cadet Sam Baker says that it’s tough work but a lot of fun.

“Getting to meet my crew, getting to show what I’m made of, actually be able to see kind of how the actual world is because obviously, the academy is different than being on a crew and hopefully being able to see my brother out at work as well.”

Chief Havlik states that AFD is one big family that also just so happens to hire a lot of sons and fathers, brothers, and even twins.

“It’s always awesome when you can train your son. My son is also out here as an instructor. So it we’re a family business,” says Havlik.

Lieutenant Jackson also has the opportunity to train his son, Ethan.

“It’s a true honor. it’s super fun to get to work with them. I’ve never gotten to see him work in the actual environment of firefighting stuff and it’s a blast,” says Ethan Jackson, Amarillo Fire Department Cadet.

“It’s good. you know, he grew up on a fire truck with me. He used to ride years ago when he was seven, eight years old. He used to ride the truck with me all the time on the weekend. So actually for him to actually get hands-on with me it’s pretty cool,” says Lieutenant Jason Jackson.

Cadet Ethan Jackson found his love for firefighting through his father.

“Just follow my dad’s footsteps. It’s a fun environment to bake brotherhood and stuff. So it has just been around it my whole life and it’s just really drawn my eye to it,” says Ethan Jackson.

Cadet Jackson also adds that he is most excited about the bonds he will make with his crew and the lives he will save.

“The brotherhood probably more than anything. Just the station life. I’m ready to make calls, and fight fire,” says Ethan Jackson.