HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County Fire Rescue set a state record on Friday with its largest graduating class ever.

Fifty-eight new firefighters from Class 44 were welcomed into the HCFR family.

Chief Joey Tanner welcomed everyone by saying, “Thank you all for being here for the largest fire graduation recruit school we have ever had.”

HCFR also beat its own record of 43 set in 2020.

“We thought it was big when we set the record for 43 graduates a couple years ago but to be 15 more than that, it’s really stretching our capabilities of what we can do, but we can obviously handle it,” HCFR spokesman Tony Casey said.

Casey said there will even be more firefighters starting soon.

“We have a class right behind it with approximately 50 so we have a lot of new people starting for the county,” Casey said.

With HCFR experiencing a record-breaking number of calls for service, Casey said this helps immensely.

“We were running 75,000 calls last year and it looks like we’re going to run more this year,” Casey said. “That calls for more public safety and we’re able to do that with these big classes.”

Some of the new recruits will even hit the streets starting on Saturday. Valedictorian Julia Currier said she can’t wait.

“Now that we got to learn from the books and some hands-on, just being able to actually go to the streets and help real people and make a difference,” Currier said.

Currier said she encourages anyone to apply.

“I was very up in the air when this came about, and just doing it has really changed my life fully,” she said. “I mean it’s amazing people, it’s like a family, everybody’s so supportive and they want to see you succeed.”