A gloomy Thursday morning didn’t deter friends and family members from crowding into Fire Station No. 21 to support their loved ones during a special badge-pinning and promotion ceremony by the Glendale Fire Department.
With Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas presiding over the ceremony, 10 new firefighter-paramedics and several new personnel were welcomed into the organization. Seven people also saw themselves promoted in the agency.
“[These] individuals have stepped up and will continue to help us lead and guide our department in the future,” Lanzas said.
The ceremony saw Narek Babayan and Tommy Nicola reach the rank of fire engineers, Michael Burt and Gil Pedroza become fire captains and Phil Ambrose and Todd Tucker being made battalion chiefs for the department.
Also, Anita Shandi was promoted to being the department’s deputy director of fire administration, while Meri Stepanyan was named a hazardous materials specialist, Jennifer Fieda was made a fire prevention inspector and Jozefina Chilingaryan was named a Verdugo Fire Communications operator.
During the ceremony, Mayor Ara Najarian touted the fire department as one of the top reasons why Glendale is a great city to live in.
He also pointed to the diversity the department is bringing in with its new hires and promotions with “four women, five Armenians and four Latinos” advancing in the agency.
Najarian also cited the different emergencies the department has to deal with because it’s in a major urban city.
“We have some of the greatest challenges in our community. We’re crisscrossed by four major freeways … We’ve got hazmat conditions in industrial centers and a power plant that sometimes has problems, structure fires, wild fires, train collisions,” he said.
“This isn’t your grandfather’s fire department,” he added.