The Pueblo Fire Department's newest class of firefighter recruits consists of six men who were selected to serve Pueblo residents based on their "experience, merit, and fitness for the position," but it's also making history for the department.
Terrence Fantroy-Hankins will be PFD's first black firefighter when he completes the academy class, which started March 1. He joins Oleg Pertsov, Dustin Holman, Charlie Mengel, Tristan Calabro, and Eric Szabelski to fill out the department's newest recruiting class.
The department was founded in 1889 but has always lacked an African-American firefighter. Two black men have served as firefighters in Pueblo, but not for the city's department. The first was a volunteer firefighter in the 1800s and the second is Eugene Polk, who was a firefighter at the Transportation Technology Center Inc. in 1974.
Fire Chief Shawn Shelton says that fact led to him change the department's recruiting strategy.