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Abilene Fire Department has high hopes for potential recruits

By Ariana Garza, Weekend Anchor/Crime & Courts Reporter, agarza@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 23 2013 08:44:12 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 23 2013 09:02:25 AM CST
Abilene, Texas -

There are only a few days left to apply for a position in the Abilene Fire Department.

Deputy Chief Larry Bell said the department only hires state certified firefighters and each new recruit will be required to become a paramedic within two years of their hiring date.

"They'll be doing everything as far as firefighting, rescues, even hazmat type stuff and most of the stuff we do now is medical calls," Bell said.

Recruits will also undergo rigorous physical and mental ability tests along with an extensive background check.

"That's a big part because we're going into people's homes, they're trusting us so we need to make sure these [recruits] are very trustworthy," Bell said. "If you're looking for a job that you're going to get wealthy doing, this is not the place to be... yet people when they are hurt, they're in need, they call the fire department and so we're there to help people and it's a very rewarding type career."

Firefighter and EMT Tony Hay was on scene when the Matera Paper Company building burned down in 2012. Though it is impossible to guarantee a happy ending on every call, he said he is glad his job enables him to lend a helping hand.

"[It] feels good to know every time you go out you're helping somebody through a tough time," Hay said. "It's a great job. It's the best job in the world."

Firefighter and Paramedic Scott Wilkerson said the 24-hour on, 48-hour off schedule creates a special bond between firefighters and keeps them going strong.

"The guys that I get to hang out with very day we develop a good relationship together, hang out off duty as well, and it's good to have brothers," Wilkerson said.

Applicants must be between 18- and 35-years-old and have either a high school diploma or GED. 

Once hired, salaries range between $35,713 and $44,192.

AFD expects 100 to 130 people to apply but only plans to hire about 12 of them.

The application deadline is Friday, Feb. 1 by 5 p.m. Applications are available at Abilene City Hall or online at the City of Abilene's website