SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — For firefighters Julie Plunk, Amanda Laager, and Rachel Wisner, Tuesday was just a small step onto the truck. For the city of Springfield, it was a giant leap for womankind.
The three Springfield firefighters were assigned to the same engine Tuesday, making the first all-female fire crew in the department’s 105-year history.
Plunk, a fire captain, worked an overtime shift as the department needed help. She talked to Springfield’s Fire Battalion Chief Mark Ballinger on the opportunity of her working with two other women.
“We had a really fun day,” Plunk recalled. “It would have been really fun to fight a fire together. But that did not happen.”
According to Plunk, Springfield only has five female firefighters, out of around 200 firefighters. She also notes more women have been wanting to apply in the past several classes of recruiting.
“I would love to see it be where it’s not even a big deal where it’s three women,” Plunk said. “So the news doesn’t even care that it’s three women, because it’s such a norm.”
The fire department swore in Chanel Jackson last month, the first Black female firefighter in the city’s history.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, only 9% of firefighters across the United States were female.