DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Nearly two dozen new firefighters were sworn in to the Denver Fire Department force on Friday — many of which were women. In a male-dominated profession, some of the new female firefighters told CBS4 they were thrilled to prove women can succeed in fighting fires.
“Walking across the stage is kind of just getting that badge for completing the evolution,” said CJ Taylor, a new firefighter.
CBS4’s Michael Abeyta tagged along with Taylor, and Charmaine Cassie, to show how women applying to be in the department show they can do the same tasks men twice their size can.
As one of their final tests, the recruits were forced to carry heavy gear up dozens of flights.
“It is just one of that hard tasks we had to complete,” Cassie told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “Although my class was predominantly male, you wouldn’t have been able to tell. They were like your brothers.”
Cassie and Taylor said they hoped their recent swearing in to the firefighting family would encourage other girls, and women, to pursue the career. Taylor even noted she graduated third overall in her class. Cassie was happy to show she could be hired on to the force at the age of 34, after a career in the military.
“It may be intimidating, but you would be surprised with how much you can actually keep up with the guys,” Taylor said. “I’ve always thrived in it.”
Both said getting to this point was challenging. But, it was all well worth the blood, sweat and tears.
“Through this training you learn a lot about what you can do, and what you’re capable of. You learn that when you are tired, you have enough juice to keep going,” Cassie said.
“I’m excited to be out of academy and start doing everything we have trained for, for real,” Taylor said.
“If you set a goal for yourself, don’t quit,” Cassie said. “You get to that finish line, it’ll all be worth it in the end.”