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L.A. fire academy teaches youths about firefighting careers

May 26, 2010 |  6:00 am

For seven weeks, the drill tower at Fire Station 40 in Terminal Island comes alive as sirens wail and red emergency lights flash.

The drill ground is the site of the Pacific Coast Fire Academy, where several dozen Los Angeles high school students recently finished a training program to prepare them for careers in the fire service.

The program is sponsored by the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District. About a third of the slots are reserved for at-risk youths, said Capt. Alicia Mathis, who helps direct the program.

Brayan Rodriguez, 16, a junior at Narbonne High School, said the academy persuaded him to become a firefighter. He plans to take fire science classes at Harbor College after he graduates from high school next year.

"I'm really committed to becoming a firefighter," he said.

To see Rodriguez and the other trainees in action, click on the video above.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Video: Pacific Coast Fire Academy. Credit: Robert J. Lopez / Los Angeles Times