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Firefighters audition for 1 spot
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One of 23 candidates for a Manteca firefighter position engages a 5-inch hose from the engine at right, hooking up the line to a fire hydrant in the citys agility test Tuesday. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Twenty-three Manteca firefighter candidates went through agility testing Monday and Tuesday afternoons for one open position in the city’s ranks.

Approximately 150 applied for the job, some as far away as San Bernardino, Santa Maria, Sacramento and Orange County. Manteca Fire Department Captain Keith Scott said the men ranged in age from the mid-20s to 40s with some having previous fire department experience. 

In applying for the position, the candidates were given a written test followed by questions about their qualifications from an oral board. Agility testing on Monday and Tuesday was performed in the park area north of city hall.

The agility test included: Carrying a 24-foot ladder from a fire engine and placing it up against a two-story building, confirming a secure footing; a 1 ¾-inch line pull from a fire engine across the grass; and a 5-inch-line pull from another engine parked on the street, hooking the flange up to a hydrant.

Twelve of the candidates were scheduled for Monday and 13 for Tuesday, however there were two who couldn’t make it, according to Scott.

The Manteca Fire Department will open its newest station later this month in the Del Webb area on Lathrop Road west of Union Road.  Initially the station will not be manned except for a rescue unit.

The beginning of the Manteca Fire Department dates back to 1910 when the community was little more than a village. Back then, fire service consisted of almost everyone in town with bucket brigades. 

Sam Hanna was the last volunteer chief who was relieved of his part-time duties in 1958 and replaced by the city’s first full-time fire chief – followed by combination of a small full-time and larger volunteer squad in the department.  The engines were housed in the back of the old brick city hall on Sycamore Avenue with a day room upstairs, while the rural department was located in the 100 block of South Grant Street.