PASO ROBLES — Three firefighter-paramedics were sworn in Monday afternoon in front of family and friends in council chambers.
The addition of Jacob Flores, Anthony Gutierrez and Keely Fortune to the Paso Robles Fire Department is significant in that it swells the department’s ranks to 21.
Paso Robles Fire Chief Jonathan Stornetta was happy see his department hire “recruits” for the first time in years.
“This is the first time we have hired new recruits in over a decade,” said Stornetta, who was sworn in as fire chief in May. “We are extremely excited to get these three here. The department is starting to build a little bit and the community is continuing to grow, so it’s exciting times now. I know that our staff was extremely pleased with the work and effort of these three.”
Prior to the most recent recession, PFD had a staff of 24, but over the past decade due to retirements saw it drop to 18 and positions not filled due to fiscal uncertainty.
Stornetta called Monday “a big step” and hopes there will be more days like it in the future for the department.
All three of the new firefighters grew up on Central Coast.
Flores was born and raised in San Luis Obispo and graduated from San Luis High School. He attended Cal Poly and majored in kinesiology and minored in Spanish. He’s been a reserve firefighter with Cal Fire since 2013 and spent two seasons with the Atascadero Fire Department as a seasonal firefighter. He’s been a paramedic for a year.
Fortune grew up in Paso Robles and attended Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo. She graduated from the University of Portland in 2004 with a major in psychology. Currently, she lives in Atascadero with her husband who is employed by Cal Fire and the couple also have a crossfit gym in Atascadero. She has eight years of fire experience, having worked with Santa Clara Cal Fire, and has been a paramedic for four years in addition to being a crossfit instructor.
Gutierrez was born and raised in Creston and graduated from Atascadero High School. He is currently finishing up his degree in fire science. He is paramedic and was employed by San Luis Ambulance for the past two years and spent two seasons with Atascadero and Cal Fire.
Paso Robles City Manager Tom Frutchey led the trio in reciting the Oath of Office. This was followed by the badge pinning ceremony.
Frutchey said Gutierrez, Fortune and Flores were chosen from a group of 14 finalists.
The ceremony included a video and a gift from the new recruits to the city — a plaque with the Oath of Office on it.
“I can’t tell you how proud we have been of you,” Stornetta said. “We are looking forward to the three of you starting.”