Matthew Bainbridge, on the left, and Abigail Lemanski, on the right, with Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski Tuesday night after the two were appointed to the department.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Abigail Lemanski became the city's first female firefighter Tuesday night.
The City Council appointed Lemanski to the department. She comes after working seven years as a volunteer firefighter in Lenox and starts recruit academy Monday morning.
"In the past seven years that I've served as fire chief, we've replaced almost a third of the 87 sworn firefighters in the department typically due to retirements, but this is the first time in those seven years, that we've had a female qualify to be hired," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski.
"I have no doubt that Abigail will be able to physically do anything and everything that every other firefighter is required to do."
The hiring process includes the Civil Service written test, physical exams, medical and psychological evaluations, and interviews. Czerwinski said there had been other woman on the civil service list in the past but not were able to score high enough on the list to be considered for hiring.
Pittsfield has had a paid department since 1891 but never had a woman on it.
That was until Lemanski, who sat toward the top of eligible candidates and cemented her name in the city's history with the appointment Tuesday night.
"I'm on a mission to advance diversity inside every aspect of this organization. Appointing Abigail Lemanski as the city's first female firefighter is a significant milestone in these efforts to broaden diversity. She successfully completed the civil service examinations required for the job. I am confident that Abby will excel during training and be an invaluable addition to the city's fire department," Mayor Linda Tyer said.
Not only did Lemanski volunteer with the Lenox Fire Department but she is also a lifeguard, certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators, holds a Level II Ropes courage manager's license and is certified in therapeutic crisis intervention, which she received from Cornell University. She holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Saint Michael's College and a Masters of Education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Also appointed on Tuesday night was Matthew Bainbridge. He too begins his career as a probationary firefighter on Monday.
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