Trenton’s third female firefighter honored alongside her son for service to the community

Karla Townsend was recognized for her 17 years of service with the department.

Mar 4, 2023, 3:26 AM

Updated 509 days ago


The Trenton Fire Department honored the hard work and public service of its own on Friday.
Karla Townsend was recognized for her 17 years of service with the department.
“Be fearless...Step out there and take a risk,” Townsend said.
Townsend can be described in many ways, but hero seemed to be the word of the evening.
“It's a wonderful feeling to be recognized for the Trenton Fire Department as a female, as a woman,” she said.
As a driver, pump operator and New Jersey certified EMS first responder, Townsend is the third woman to be hired as a firefighter Trenton's history. She notes that the department is the second oldest one in the country.
Townsend not only inspires young girls and boys in the next generation – but her son Solomon Townsend, too.
“She paved the way for me to pursue a dream and I’m glad that it happened,” he said.
It was his mother's strength during her younger son, Eli's battle with cancer that gave Solomon the courage to step up and serve the community that was ultimately present at the time of Eli’s death last year.
“To take a tragedy and turn that into positivity that they both want to protect and protect children and make sure they can prosper in the capital city,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora.
Solomon Townsend has been with the department for a year alongside his mom. Their bond is certainly resonating with others. Friday's event was sparked by a social media post that grabbed the attention of the local community. It showed pictures of Townsend and her son responding to the scene of a fire together.
Townsend said that it’s the strength of her fellow firefighters that ultimately keeps her going.
“We are a team. We are family and we look out for one another,” Townsend said.

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