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Fire department recruits show off skills to families
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Family and friends watch demonstrations during Firefighter Family Night in Gainesville on Friday. Family members of recruit class 44 came out for food and demonstrations of different exercises they will encounter in the field. - photo by David Barnes

Amid the smoke and smells of burning debris, Luanne Cape and family watch her son go to work.

Andrew Cape and the other 10 recruits for Hall County Fire Services 44th recruit class performed exercises Friday night for families at the Allen Creek Training Center in Gainesville.

“The training has been very difficult. We’re just extremely proud that he has endured and that he’s going to be a firefighter for Hall County,” Luanne Cape said.

Cape said her son decided in the fall to start training with the fire department, possibly being inspired by his uncle, a retired Gwinnett County firefighter.

Capt. Zachary Brackett said recruits at this stage are about halfway done, with almost 14 weeks of fire school under their belts. They will then enroll in EMT school before potentially joining the department near the holidays.

The recruits rotated around extinguishing a car fire, performing a vehicle extrication and tackling a live fire inside the department’s burn building.

Looking on from the fires was Gordon Hopper, who was there to support grandson Dellon James. Though he was quite surprised to hear James was joining the fire department, Hopper said the process has changed his grandson for the better.

“He’s just more happy. He’s proud of what he’s doing. It’s a challenge to him,” he said.

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