CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The son of a Charleston firefighter who was killed in the June 2007 Sofa Super Store fire was among a group of Charleston Fire Department recruits who graduated from Class 22-01 this week.

Friday’s graduation took place at West Ashley High School and welcomed Summerville Fire Chief Richard Waring as keynote speaker.

Hunter Benke was among 23 recruits who graduated after completing the Charleston Fire Department’s 16-week academy and earning 350 hours of training.

His father, Mike Benke, was killed along with nine other Charleston firefighters during the Sofa Super Store fire on June 18, 2007. It was deemed the deadliest firefighter disaster in the United States since the September 11 terror attacks.

“We welcome our newest firefighters to the CFD family as they enter the next phase of their career,” said Fire Chief Dan Curia. “These recruits entered our program and spent the last 16-weeks with our Training Division to prepare them to work in our community.”

Chief Curia said six recruits, who are already certified EMTs, will now move to probationary status and spend the next six months honing their skills.

“The remaining recruits will now move into the EMT program for the next 8 weeks,” he said. “I am very proud of their hard work and dedication.”

Seven other recruits from the Lowcountry graduated on Friday. You can watch a livestream of that ceremony on the Charleston Fire Department’s Facebook page by clicking here.