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First all-female crew makes history at Plainfield Fire Department



Plainfield, Indiana – On Sunday, five women from the Plainfield Fire Territory occupied Station 123, marking the first time that exclusively women have ever staffed an entire station.

Captain Kathy Pennington of the Plainfield Fire Territory emphasized that each lady is completely qualified for her position on a fire engine or ambulance.

‘We didn’t just put somebody in to drive today. Carole, that’s her daily position, she does that every day. My medic crew does the same thing, that’s their daily position every day. My position, it’s the same thing, it’s what we do each and every day so we are already qualified to do that,” Pennington said. “It’s just important to me because as women we have done the things we need to do to get to where we are.”

Carole Klinger, a Plainfield Fire Territory Firefighter Paramedic, said, “Every day when I come in, I drive a fire engine, and I love doing it. I love the sirens. I love the trucks. I try to take care of the trucks as best as I can.”

The women usually disperse among the other fire stations, so this is the first time they have all been together. To commemorate Klinger’s impending retirement after 27 years of service, they all gathered through.

“It’s something I never thought I’d see here in my time at least that we’d have as many women here as we do,” Klinger said.

These ladies are making it easier for other women to enter this traditionally male industry.

“You might not think that you can but that’s where the problem is. You can do it,” Pennington said. “You’re going to have to put some work in to do it, you’re going to have to put some training in to do it but if you are willing and you want you can absolutely have what you want.”

“There’s a lot of people that come up and say oh you work for the fire department and say how do you like the ambulance? And I say I am not on the ambulance, I’m driving the firetruck,” Klinger said. “And they usually take a back a little bit and they don’t understand that that’s actually happening.”

As Klinger retires, this will be the only time an all-female crew like this gets together until additional women advance through the ranks to replace her as the engine driver.

The female members of the Plainfield fire department hope that this will eventually become more of a norm.

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