PERTH AMBOY - The Perth Amboy Fire Department swore in its first full-time female firefighter Monday afternoon.
Arielle Bonilla says that she hopes to inspire more young women to join their local fire departments to serve the community.
“I accomplished something huge,” she says. "It exciting to learn new things every day, I consider everyone a brother and I can go to anyone and ask them for advice and they help me.”
Bonilla has served in the United States Navy since 2011. She comes from a line of firefighters. Her two of her brothers are also career firefighters for the city.
"When she went to Navy, it made me real nervous, and it makes me nervous that she’s going to be here,” says her brother David. “But I know she’ll be able to handle herself and prove that she can do it.”
“I just want to make sure everyone knows I can do a man’s job,” Bonilla says.
The city of Perth Amboy would like to make Bonilla the first of many female career firefighters over time, thanks to a $1 million grant.
Perth Amboy has had several female firefighters in the department in the past, but in a volunteer capacity only.