All-female engine crew makes history for Washington Township Fire Department

13ABC celebrates the Milestone on International Women’s Day
The three women made history when they responded to a February fire as the township's first all-female engine crew in history.
Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 9:55 AM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Heather Bacon, Mandy Miller and Jessica Stacey are all volunteer firefighters and EMTs at the Washington Township Fire Department. When Engine 72 arrived at a fire on February 17, they arrived as the first all-female engine crew for the department.

“When we got here and it was only three of us, we just made do and we rolled and got stuff done,” Stacey said.

The moment is a huge accomplishment for the department as it struggles to find volunteer members while creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“We need good quality people,” Bacon said. “If there’s teenagers or kids seeing us do our jobs and they think, I can do that, they should try, and don’t give up.”

Giving up was never an option for Bacon. She is a third-generation firefighter.

“My grandfather joined when he was 16. My dad and uncle when they were both 18, and I joined after 9/11,” Bacon said. “There would be times when we would be sitting down for dinner and the tones would drop and half the family would leave. It was just automatic.”

It’s a family affair for Stacey, too. Her dad worked for Washington Township for 12 years.

“I actually got lucky and when I graduated high school, I was already a firefighter before I got my diploma,” she said. “I feel like I am on a good path.”

These women don’t do this job for the money, earning $15 per run. This service is a commitment to the community.

“I joined the Army when I was 17 and when I got out, I told my mom I wanted to do this, and she said it’s a lot of work for not a lot of pay, but I just wanted to help people, it didn’t matter about the money,” Miller said.

What truly matters to these women is getting the next generation engaged in this work. It is a hard job, but they are proof it can be done.

“No matter what anyone tells you, you can make it happen as long as you believe in yourself and wake up every morning and tell yourself, I got this and I am going to make it happen,” Bacon said.

This trio made history happen here and Washington Township Fire Department is better for it.

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