295 probationary firefighters join the force at FDNY graduation

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Joe Torres reports. (WABC)

Five women have joined the thousands of firefighters who serve and protect New York City every day, among hundreds who graduated from the FDNY Academy Wednesday.

And there's one woman in particular among the 295 new probationary firefighters who fulfilled her lifelong dream with the accomplishment.

"I'm very, very excited," Elizabeth Park said. "I'm beyond thankful to have even had the opportunity to go through the entire academy and to make it through the whole process."

Five new female firefighters might not seem like a lot, but it's the most women to join the department since the FDNY hired 41 women back in 1982.

"It's definitely a big responsibility," Eniola Brown said. "But I went to meet the guys at my house last night; they were awesome. And so it's not even something that I'm noticing."

There are now 58 female firefighters on the first, the highest total in the department's 151-year history.

"I think sometimes the more other women see women doing the job and enjoying the job, they see it as a job for them," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. "And I think there are thousands of women in our city who can do it."

With the new arrivals, females now account for .5 percent of all FDNY firefighters. And after 18 weeks of intensive physical and academic training, they've earned the uniform they now wear. And sometimes, when consoling a fire victim, female firefighters can make a world of a difference.

"If a woman can relate to me more, if she has a problem and can relate to me more and I can serve her better because I'm a woman, then all the better," said Sarinya Srisakul, of United Women Firefighters.

And that means some of New York's Bravest can also be some of New York's kindest.
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