Promotions, new hires at the Fire Department

DOWNEY - Nine Downey firefighters were promoted Wednesday during a badge-pinning ceremony at St. Raymond's Catholic Church, the largest single promotion in the history of the department. Usually held at Fire Station 1, Wednesday's ceremony was held in the church's banquet hall and coordinated by the Downey Firemen's Association.

"It certainly is a privilege to be a captain in this department," said Mike Whitney, one of three new captains. "I could not have done it without the support of my colleagues."

After an invocation by Fr. John Higgins and a photo slideshow, each of the promoted firefighters shared brief remarks before a family member pinned them with a new badge.

Promotions include new captains Peter Browne, Mike Whitney and Anastacio Rios, and engineers Robert Landers, Anthony Matas, Chris Bohannon, Tim Clark, Zach Nielsen and Ivan Orloff.

Bohannon, who had a previously scheduled family vacation, and Clark, who was on duty, could not attend the ceremony.

Meanwhile, 10 new firefighters officially joined the department Thursday when they received their badges during a ceremony at Fire Station 1.

Before the ceremony, however, the recruits treated friends and family to a demonstration in the city's public works yard near Independence Park.

The recruits, who range in age from 24-34, rappelled down a four-story tower, demonstrated the jaws of life, extinguished a car fire and showed off other life-saving skills.

A FEMA grant is paying for nine of the firefighters, enabling the city to put Engine 61 -- taken out of service last year as part of budget cuts -- back on Downey's streets.

The 10 rookie firefighters were welcomed to the Downey Fire Department with a ceremonial dousing, courtesy of their firefighter co-workers.

********** Published: June 20, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 10