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Fire academy offers a ladder toward success

Casey Patrick of Harbor College does push-ups after forgetting his helmet at the Fire Instructional Recruitment Education Academy in Terminal Island. Core values are stressed in the program, which sponsored by the Los Angeles Fire Department, Harbor College and the Los Angeles Unified School District. (KEN HIVELY / Los Angeles Times)
Under the watchful eye of L.A. firefighter and academy instructor Frank Aguilar, right, Mariana Preciado of San Pedro High clings to the edge of the drill tower while learning how to rappel. (KEN HIVELY / Los Angeles Times)
Fire hose
Max Picazo of Carson High, the “engineer” of his “fire company,” gets wet during the water drill at the academy’s training session Saturday. (KEN HIVELY / Los Angeles Times)
Training face
Stephanie Lomeli of Banning High suits up. One group of trainees, wearing black firefighter helmets, marched in formation as they sang out in cadence: “We like it here. We love it here. We’re training every day, hey!” (KEN HIVELY / Los Angeles Times)