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Female Firefighter Climbs The Ladder

By: Denny Trease
By: Denny Trease

The Lexington Fire Department has its first female major. Lexington native Kristin Chilton was promoted to the post after moving up through practically every level of the department.

The Lafayette High School grad earned a Business Management degree from Transylvania University before accepting an invitation to ride along on a fire department emergency unit and finding herself hooked.

Chilton tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "It's been a really good career and it would be a great choice for other women."

In 15 years with the department, Chilton has found a lot to like, "that it's never boring, that everyday when you come to work, it can always be something different."

Of course, now there's the added responsibility of her new rank. She says that prospect is exciting but scary.

Her chief, though, anticipates no problems with a woman supervising male firefighters.

Lexington Fire Chief Robert Hendricks says, "She's accepted just like any other male would be. 20 or 30 years ago, I don't think it would have been the case. Frankly, society has changed and we've changed as a fire service."

Kristin Chilton completely agrees, saying, "We're definitely going in the right direction. We've got 4 other women that are officers in the department, which is more than 50 per cent of the women that are on the job so it just shows the things that we go through are very equal and we do have the opportunity to move up in rank."

Chief Hendricks would love to see more women follow the same career path.

He says, "We are particularly interested in recruiting females. It's a very physically demanding job, but we found in most cases the females are capable of passing our agility tests and are very capable otherwise."

Major Kristin Chilton is living proof. She will be in charge of five stations on the south side of Lexington.


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