Haverhill’s First Female Firefighter to Graduate from the Firefighting Academy Starts Work

Graduating from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy on Friday were, front from left, Taylor Gillette, Jory Marini-Berry, Gavin Flaherty and Thomas Marcotte. Back row, from left, are Thomas Quinlan, Brandon Fredette, Lucien Chretien and Matthew MacRae. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill’s first female firefighter to graduate from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s Career Recruit class starts on the job at the Bradford fire station.

Taylor Gillette joined seven others from Haverhill—one of the city’s largest contingents of recruits—in graduating from the 50-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program, Class 320, during ceremonies in Stow.

Before long, Gillette will be one of five female Haverhill firefighters with two more going to the Academy Monday.

Along with Gillette, graduating Haverhill firefighters were Brandon Fredette, Gavin Flaherty, Jory Marini-Berry, Lucien Chretien, Matthew MacRae, Thomas Marcotte and Thomas Quinlan.

The Haverhill Fire Department has a surge of new recruits this year as the city fills vacancies due to retirements and adds 16 new federally funded firefighters that will bring a fully manned second ladder truck to Bradford. The $4.1 million federal grant was celebrated last November at the Bradford Fire Station, as WHAV reported at the time.

“Massachusetts firefighters are on the frontlines protecting their communities every day, and today’s graduates are needed now more than ever,” said state Fire Marshal Jon M. Davine. “The hundreds of hours of foundational training they’ve received will provide them with the physical, mental and technical skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely.”

Academy Director Eric Littmann added, “Massachusetts Firefighting Academy instructors draw on decades of experience in the fire service to train new recruits. Through consistent classroom instruction and practical exercises, today’s graduates have developed the tools they’ll need to work seamlessly with veteran firefighters in their home departments and in neighboring communities as mutual aid.”

Graduates from nearby communities included Matthew Carr, Methuen Fire Department, and Chad Cameron, Andover Fire Department.

According to the Academy, Students receive classroom training in all basic firefighter skills. They practice first under non-fire conditions and then during controlled fire conditions. To graduate, students must demonstrate proficiency in life safety, search and rescue, ladder operations, water supply, pump operation and fire attack. Fire attack operations range from mailbox fires to multiple-floor or multiple-room structural fires.

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