Utica, NY (WIBX) - A new class of 30 recruits began 14 weeks of training at the Utica Fire Academy this week.

"It's a very challenging, grueling training period, but when they leave here they're firefighters," said Utica Fire Chief Russ Brooks.

Nine of the 30 recruits are for Utica's Fire Deparment, while the others come from all over the state including Rochester, Little Falls, Glens Falls and Oswego, Brooks said.

A ceremony was held at City Hall Thursday to officially appoint the nine recruits for the Utica Fire Department. It couldn't come earlier as eight of the recruits were pending approval of a federal SAFER grant by the Common Council, which it did on Wednesday. The ninth will fill a vacancy due to a recent retirement, Brooks said.

(photo: Utica Fire Academy recruits awaiting appointment and oath. In the background are the other 21 fire recruits from department's across New York)