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Amputee graduates from firefighter academy

Isaac FelicianoIsaac Feliciano wanted to be a firefighter since he was a child, but gangrene from spinal meningitis claimed part of his left leg at age 5.

Paterson's fire department initially balked at hiring Feliciano after the city's medical consultant ruled he was not "physically capable" due to his prosthetic leg, his lawyers said.

However, he never gave up on his dream and, after an extended bureaucratic battle, got clearance to pursue his boyhood dream to become a firefighter in Paterson.

Feliciano had already passed a written exam and finished 103rd out of more than 615 candidates in the daunting physical test, which included pulling a hose and carrying a dummy while wearing a weighted vest.

The state Merit System Board eventually decided in March that Feliciano could enter training as a Paterson firefighter, and he began training in April.

And that dream was realized Friday when he graduated from the Passaic County Public Safety Academy in Wayne.

"I'm excited to have accomplished my goal, and I look forward to serving the people," said Feliciano, 35, who will report for duty on Monday morning.

Video & Source: Wcbstv
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