What started as an experiment in training firefighters locally is turning into a regular event in the Tri-Cities.
Starting Monday, 17 firefighters will start a 15-week training program at the regional fire recruit academy — without having to leave home.
With Kennewick looking to open a new fire station, and Pasco and Richland replacing retiring firefighters, it will be the largest class ever trained in the area.
Much like police departments rely on a state academy in Burien to train new officers, firefighters have traditionally gone to North Bend or Tacoma to train, said Richland Fire Capt. Adam Hardgrove.
Once there, they spent 12 weeks with other new hires across the state.
Now, Kennewick, Richland and Pasco have teamed up to hold the new academy, the fourth in the region, and the second to involve all three cities.