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Raleigh Fire Department Introduces More Diverse Class Of Recruits

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh Fire Department on Tuesday introduced its new class of 30 recruits.

It is the first class since fire Chief John McGrath launched a plan in March to increase the racial diversity among the city's firefighters.

Under the plan, the fire department targets minorities with radio advertisements, open houses and fliers and removes internal obstacles, such as shortening the length of the application process.

The changes came after local minority groups expressed concern that the fire department did not represent the Raleigh community makeup. At that time, 16 percent of firefighters were minorities or women.

When McGrath, who worked in Philadelphia for 30 years, stepped into his new role as fire chief in early February, he admitted the department could do better to mirror the community, and welcomed any help.

Of the new recruits, 40 percent are black men and 10 percent are women.

Training will last six months.

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