Diversity in the FDNY soars since a 2009 federal ruling forced the department to reform its hiring practices.
Of the 242 FDNY recruits who graduated the training academy Thursday, sixty-two percent are minorities.
The diversity is a result of changes in the department's hiring practices, after a federal judge ruled previous techniques discriminated against black and Hispanic applicants in 2009.
Kevin Washington is a retired African American FDNY liutenant. He says the change is long overdue.
"My father was a fireman, and became a New York City fireman in 1956. The makeup of the fire department hasn't changed much since that time."
Annmarie Milne from the Rockaways is celebrating her son's graduation today. She says she was especially excited to see four women in the graduating class
"If you can do this job, you earn it, you deserve it, you got it. Because bottom line - we all bleed red. And we all need help, no matter who it is at that point in your life, when you're screaming 'fire.'"
The new graduates will enter firehouses across the city as probationary firefighters, or probies, immediately.