CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A group of 20 fire department recruits made a 9-mile run Friday that led them past all of the fire stations on the peninsula and served as a tribute to the Charleston 9.
The 9-mile run was set up so the recruits run one mile for every Charleston Fire Department member who lost his life in the Sofa Super Store fire of 2007.
Driver Training Coordinator David Griffin called the run a rite of passage for new recruits who are finishing their six-month training session with the department. The run also draws the attention of current firefighters. A dozen firefighters joined the recruits on Friday's run.
"This is all a brotherhood so we're trying to get that more instituted more and more with our new recruits and our guys on the line," he said.
Griffin said the run is about brotherhood and teamwork and remembering the 9 men who gave their lives fighting a fire. In fact, the names of the fallen firefighters are drilled into the recruits' memories from the first day of training.
They are even tested on the names during training. During Friday's run, one name of the fallen was called out every time the group of firefighters and rookies completed a mile.
"Everything we do out here is in increments of nine for that reason," he said. Griffin says rookie training was rebooted after the Sofa Super Store fire and then a new administration changed things again in 2010. Rookies now train for six months."We want to teach them not only to be a good firefighter but to be a good person," Griffin said. "They're giving us 25 years of their life, so we want that kind of person on the line."
The City of Charleston website has more information on when the fire department is seeking new recruits and will provide dates for upcoming training sessions.