As the sirens blare here in Tampa, we’re reminded of the lives taken too soon 19 years ago during the 9/11 attacks.

“It just reminds you of the severity of the job and the reason why we train and the reason why we train to help one another and ourselves,” Tampa Fire Rescue Captain Dan Quatrino said.

That’s what’s going on at the training facility on Friday, as the newest class of Tampa Fire Rescue recruits since the pandemic started prepares to graduate.

They learned not only the ins-and-outs of the job, but also the environment.

“The teamwork, the brotherhood, sisterhood that you experience…” said Captain Quatrino.

For one recruit in particular, these fundamentals are already second nature.

“It’s very close to a hockey locker room, work ethic and teamwork, so I can’t wait to be a part of the family,” said Nikita Alekseev, who is a former Tamp Bay Lightning player.

Trading his stick for a hose, the Russian native has become a true Floridian at heart.

“They’re doing great, obviously I’m cheering for them. That’s my heart, that’s my team,” said Alekseev, when asked about the Lightnings’ success.

Both on the ice, and in our community.

“That’s my kids home, that’s my wife’s home, a lot of friends. I’ve been here 20 years now, so I consider America to be my home,” said Alekseev.

The new recruits will be sworn in next Friday.

Meanwhile, Alekseev says he plans to cheer on the bolts Friday night with his kids on the couch, just like he does for every game.