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Recruiting the next generation of minority firefighters

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The International Association of Black Professional Firefighters (IABPFF) and Fire Institute for Racial Equality retirees kicked of their Tri-Regional Spring Conference Thursday at the Marriott St. Louis West Hotel with a recruitment event at the St. Louis Fire Department Headquarters.

Seventh graders from Gateway Middle School looked on with great interest as firefighters demonstrated firefighting techniques.

The theme of this year's conference is "Leadership on Diversity, Recruitment and Retention."

James Hill, President of the IABPFF, said the number of minorities working in fire service has declined across the country.

“In 1998, we were at our peak in numbers of 19. Today, we're in single digits; somewhere around eight or nine percent,” Hill said.