By Chris Carroll
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Get thrilled, Chattanooga, your rookie firefighters can move like the Gloved One.
The evidence? A video of a training session showing 24 Chattanooga Fire Academy graduates hoisting ladders and rolling stretchers, then a blast of robot funk — the opening bars to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" — and dancing firefighters in full yellow gear.
"You never know when you might have to dance your way up out of a situation," recent fire academy graduate Brenton Davenport said. "Always good to be versatile in everything."
Much like the ghouls and zombies that creep through Jackson's career-defining music video from 1983, the firefighters converge in military lockstep, wiggle their hips and spray their imaginary fire hoses.
"Some of the guys struggled, so I let them do whatever they wanted," said Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner, who documents the academy experience for each class.
The crew doesn't have a Jackson stand-in — the three women and 21 men had equal roles — but each firefighter has at least one eye-catcher moment, with some gliding across the concrete like hockey players over ice.
The idea got a lukewarm response at first.
"It was a lot of, 'You want me to put out fires, jump into burning buildings, rip cars apart — and you also want me to dance?'" Garner said. "But then they rocked."Copyright 2011 Chattanooga Publishing Company