x

WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

Three Women among New Firefighters in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, Pa.–  There were several milestones for the newest batch of firefighters sworn in Thursday in Wilkes-Barre. Six new recruits became members ...

WILKES-BARRE, Pa.--  There were several milestones for the newest batch of firefighters sworn in Thursday in Wilkes-Barre.

Six new recruits became members of the city's fire department -- three men and three women.

This is the first time in the city's history there have been female firefighters.

"The three female firefighters that were hired today, they took the test same as the male firefighters. They took the examination, the took the physical agility test. They earned their right to be a Wilkes-Barre firefighter," said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.

Next to the three new male recruits stood Jessica Crawford, Danielle Johnson, and Kristen Payton, creating a milestone for the department that's been in service for more than 200 years.

"I don't look at it as making history. It was just a great opportunity for me to enter the workforce and be able to make a difference in the community around me and to be able to help people and I just I am grateful for that opportunity," Jessica Crawford said.

Over the last year and a half, 16 firefighter/EMTs in Wilkes-Barre have retired. The fire chief tells Newswatch 16 this most recent recruitment of three men and three women brings the department back up to speed.

"We had a swearing-in earlier this month where we hired seven firefighters and the additional six today, we can get back to somewhat normal operations in the fire department," said the chief.

This recruitment ceremony inside Wilkes-Barre City Hall marked another first for the department -- the first time a husband and wife will serve alongside each other as firefighters

Michael Crawford has been with the department nearly 20 years, and now his wife Jessica will join him. Both have the support of their 11 children.

"It is amazing and we are all extremely proud," said their daughter Kaelyn Crawford.

"This is actually really exciting. My kids have been so, so excited and so proud. My husband has been so excited and so proud which just made this day even more special, that they were all here and able to enjoy it with us," Jessica Crawford said.

"Michael Crawford has been a great firefighter/EMT for nearly 20 years and I know his wife and she has a great work ethic. If she can raise 11 children and do such a good job, I am quite confident that she could come to the fire department and do the same thing with our staff," Chief Delaney said.