Fifteen volunteer firefighters from Edgartown and Tisbury graduated on Wednesday evening from an accelerated firefighter 1 and 2 course, marking the first time such a training has been catered to Islanders and offered partially on the Island. The graduation ceremony at the Edgartown school was attended by a group of eagerly applauding family and friends.

The course was taught by instructors from the Barnstable County fire and rescue training academy. Graduates had to pass written and practical exams with both the academy and the state in order to complete the course.

“You’ve been emboldened with the knowledge of these instructors,” Edgartown fire chief Alex Schaeffer said at the graduation ceremony. He said the firefighters’ new knowledge should come with a greater sense of duty. “It has been said that from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.”

The class was held on Wednesdays and Saturdays for approximately 12 weeks. Five Saturday trainings took place on the Island, and the other five took place at the Barnstable academy. On Wednesdays, instructors from the academy traveled to the Island to offer additional classes. Students also participated in a separate, voluntary study group each week.

Michael Parker of the Edgartown fire department receives congratulations. — Holly Pretsky

“We at the fire academy also know how adversely affected the Island firefighters are to having access to fire training,” said retired state fire marshal Stephen Coan during his closing remarks. “This clearly is an indication of support from Barnstable county... of a great new beginning of a partnership between Barnstable county and the Island.”

The class covered a range of topics including building construction, extrication, use of gear and equipment like breathing apparatuses, and communications.

Justin Lucas of the Tisbury department was honored with the top graduate award for best performance on quizzes and exams. Mr. Lucas had a class average of 97 per cent.

Tisbury fire chief John Schilling said being part of the first graduating class on the Island was a milestone to be proud of for the firefighters.

“I’m especially proud of the way you all came together and supported each other to achieve individual and group success,” he said. “No one was left on their own, and no one was left behind.”


Edgartown: Joshua Baker, Brenden Cooney, Lieut. Khalid Dore, Brian Foster, Thomas Ignacio, Jovany Navarrete, Edward Michael Parker.

Tisbury: James Cleary, assistant chief Gregory Leland, Justin Lucas, Patrick Murphy, Morgan Reitzas, Lieut. Patrick Murphy, Lieut. Patrick Rolston, James Stinemire and Ryan Welty.