Teenage fire hero turned firefighter is following in father's footsteps

WPVI logo
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Teenage fire hero turned firefighter is following in father's footsteps
Teenage fire hero turned firefighter is following in father's footsteps

MONROEVILLE, New Jersey -- A South Jersey woman's career path has come full circle.

Olivia Hale was a fire hero at age 19, graduated from the fire academy less than five years later, and is now working alongside her father.

Standing only 5 foot 3 and 125 pounds, she's tiny but mighty. She is also one of the newest members of the Ferrell Fire Department in Monroeville.

"I like helping people, I like saving people," said Hale.

That's how Olivia's journey started. Back in 2019, when she was a 19-year-old waitress.

She happened to be at the right place at the right time when a fire broke out in Cherry Hill.

Olivia rushed into the burning home to help rescue two senior citizens.

"I could see the couple sitting in their living room and they just didn't know there was a fire in their kitchen," said Hale.

She and another woman helped bring the couple to safety before fire crews arrived and put out the blaze.

"My instincts just kicked in, and I wouldn't have been able to live with myself knowing someone was in there and I didn't do anything," she said.

Nearly five years later, Olivia continues running into burning buildings, but this time she's suited and booted up.

Olivia just graduated from the fire academy with her father, Charles, right by her side.

"It's just important that I follow in my father's footsteps," said Hale.

Olivia is now one of three female volunteer firefighters with the Ferrell Fire Department in Monroeville.

"It was surreal because I was going into a burning building with my daughter to go find other people. I was just standing back and watching her and couldn't believe what I was watching," Charles said.

Olivia also has someone else watching: her 1-year-old son Kingston. Balancing a dangerous job, in a male-dominated industry, isn't lost on this single mother who admits there were moments when she felt intimidated.

"Use the intimidation as a push to do better. You can do anything you put your mind to," said Hale.

She says she's grateful for the brotherhood within the department and finally feels like she's found her calling.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.