FAIRFIELD - After training and before placement into the Bridgeport Fire Department, more than a dozen new recruits must take part in various exercises to prepare them to battle real flames.

The training exercises take place at the Fairfield Fire Department training facility at One Rod Highway. For some recruits, the exercises mark the first time they actually run into a burning structure. Once inside the building, one group searches for trapped victims while the other group works to put out the flames.

The recruits must also practice carrying up to 65 pounds of firefighting equipment when heading into a fire. Fire instructors say the exercises teach the recruits important hands-on techniques needed for firefighting.

The new recruits say they are excited for their graduation and placement in the Bridgeport Fire Department in late April.