PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It is their mission to protect life, property and the environment and provide services related to fire suppression.

And after 32 weeks of training, 27 men and women officially became firefighters today – when they graduated from the Pittsburgh Fire Academy.

Terror attacks and bombings have expanded the role of firefighters post 911 and this group has been trained to respond to new challenges.

Mark Rowan has been waiting since 2007 to be a firefighter.

“I’m really proud to be part of this class,” Rowan said. “It’s a great group of guys and I couldn’t ask to be a part of a better class.”

Friends and family members were on hand to support the graduates.

And the newly trained firefighters had a chance to show off what they learned.

A second class of recruits will graduate in November, bringing the total number of city firefighters to 618 by the end of this year.

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