Women’s History Month: Women firefighters making history in Hillsborough

Karlie Cunningham and Sarah Bosse are the first all-female suppression crew in Local 4897 history.

Karina Gerry

Mar 4, 2024, 1:28 PM

Updated 45 days ago


Women at the Hillsborough Fire Department are making history and showing the world they can do anything men do.
Firefighters Karlie Cunningham and Sarah Bosse say they love what they do: fighting fires and answering calls for Hillsborough residents.
Stationed in Flagtown, Cunningham and Bosse are the only two women out of 16 members who are full-time at their station. They also happen to be the first all-female suppression crew in Local 4897 history.
"It feels sometimes cool. We definitely stand out, so it's very nice because we have a very big town and our residents are very supportive of us,” Cunningham said.
They both say they worked hard to become staff members. They took a physical agility test, a written exam and then underwent two interviews. The station also has volunteer firefighters, five of whom are women.
"At my volunteer house I had a captain who told me don't ever let your size intimidate you, you can do whatever is in your heart, so that has kind of pushed me through my whole career,” Bosse said.
Volunteer firefighter Nancy Murray says she always wanted to be a firefighter. "I allowed people in my life to convince me I couldn't do it, so I was actually 35 when I went to fire school."
All three women have the same advice for the little girls who might think they can't be firefighters or do things that are considered for men.
"You see a little girl and you just want her to know, you can do anything you want; you can pick up what the boys can pick up, you can do what the boys can do and never let anyone stop you,” Murray said.

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