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25 enroll in college’s new fire academy

William Ferchland
Photos by Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy student Neil Pekar drags a 170-pound dummy as part of a nine-station physical agility course on Saturday.
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At 44 and the only female in her class, Ann Raines could complain about going back to school.

But Raines said she’s having a ball after the first week of the Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy, which gives students the training necessary to earn a certificate in firefighting.

“I keep telling myself I can do this because I really, really want to,” Raines said.



Saturday marked the first full day of physical endurance tests, such as dragging a 170-pound dummy to simulate a rescue or hitting a tire 50 times with a 6-pound mallet to simulate ventilating a roof.

Twenty-five students, some from out of state, enrolled in the first-year academy, said Leona Allen, coordinator for the academy.



Conducted by Lake Tahoe Community College, the fire academy also has help from South Shore fire departments, which could use the school as a feeder program for new employees.

Raines, who is also a member of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s search-and-rescue team, doesn’t know how she’ll use the fire certificate once she earns it. But she’s enjoying the educational journey.

“It’s extremely hard work but it’s extremely gratifying,” she said. “It goes beyond what you think you can do and it pushes you a little bit beyond that.”


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