Bellmead Fire Department hires its first female firefighter

Posted at 2:01 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:39-04

The Bellmead Fire Department now has its first female firefighter.

Amber Barnes, 32, who got her EMT certification and through the fire academy in 2015 started working for the department last July. 

"Any female that's going into a profession where there are not that many females, you challenge yourself,” Barnes said.

Before becoming a firefighter, the mother of three, worked as an administrative secretary at the Texas State Technical College.

However, she said her lifelong dream was to become a firefighter. 

“It’s really what the fire service is and being part of something bigger than yourself,” Barnes said.

Bellmead Fire Chief William Hlavenka said she was the most qualified candidate for the job.

"It's a new era for our department. Male or female, she met the qualifications. I'm very honored to have her,”Hlavenka said.

Barnes is honored to be one of the 12 firefighters in the department and the first female in the department.

"You do have a little sense of pride and that you are making a little bit of history,” Barnes said.

Beyond making history, Barnes doesn’t feel any different than her peers.

"I train the same way that all these other guys did. We have the same skill certifications. We do the same job,” Barnes said.

She said she hopes her dedication serves as a lesson for her children.

"If you put your heart into something and it's really what you want to do and you try and never give up, you are capable of doing anything."

Other departments in Central Texas have or have had female firefighters in the past.

Copperas Cove currently has eight female firefighters and the first one was hired in 1994. Harker Heights currently has three female firefighters, with the first one being with the department 23 years. The Lacy Lakeview fire chief and fire marshal who has been there since 2010 is a female. 

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