Columbia Fire Department to add four firefighters

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department will graduate four firefighters on Thursday after a 12-week class.

The class started in the deparment's training academy in March. It was the first class of new recruits this year.

The four graduates: Jefferey Jarvis, Stephenson Crain, Brien Kiser and Daniel Sarkar, will work at the Columbia Fire Department after graduation.

Stephenson Crain is the only one who had zero experience in firefighting among the four graduates.

"It was interesting. It was a lot to learn. And it was a fast pace. We covered a lot of skills and tactics in a short amount of time. I think I maybe have to work a little bit harder than the other guys. They'd already done this stuff before," Crain said.

Crain is a Columbia native, and he used to work in office.

"Eventually I wanted to do this for a couple of years now. I have a friend who is firefighter and I get to see all the cool things he was doing. It looks like a lot of fun," Crain said.

Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Stephen Potter said no experience can be a good thing.

"They're able to learn this new trade, this new job a little bit easier without having that memory, background of previous jobs in firefighting field," Potter said.

He said there are currently more than 130 firefighters in Columbia, and three of them are retiring this year.

The next class this year is scheduled for August, and it's expected to take in seven students.