Hundreds of Hopefuls Attend Firefighter Career Expo

It's not easy, and it's not glamorous, but firefighters say the job is worth every hose pull and stair climb.

Hiring to be fully staffed is something the Sacramento Fire Department hasn't been able to do in years. But with hundreds of firefighter hopefuls at the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee career expo, the department hopes to change that.

"The recession hit us pretty hard," said Francisco Villalpando with the Sacramento Fire Department. "There was a hiring freeze within the city, and we're trying to play catch up right now."

In the last seven years, the department has been 86 firefighters short of a full staff, according to spokesperson Chris Harvey.

The graduation of one fire academy and the start of another boosts their numbers, but still leaves Sac Fire with some holes, which is why they were out recruiting Saturday.

Other fire agencies from around Sacramento and the Bay Area were ready to educate candidates. Eight physical ability tests were even set up to show the typical demands of the job.

One goal of this event, according to Cal-JAC, is to hire a diverse group including women and minorities.

Other firefighter career expos are planned in Southern California. There are 850 candidates expected to go through the multiple events across the state.