Pineville's only female firefighter talks about her career - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Pineville's only female firefighter talks about her career

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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- Janet Boone is celebrating 17 years as a Pineville firefighter. If that's not a big enough accomplishment already, Boone is also the only female firefighter on the line.

News Channel 5's Brooke Buford spoke with her about keeping up with the boys and what advice she would give to other women thinking about becoming a firefighter too.

Janet Boone says she got a lot of interesting reactions when she first told people she wanted to become a firefighter.

"You're crazy!" she said. "My dad didn't want me to do it. It's dangerous."

Now, 17 years later, she's not only living her dream, she's also keeping up with the boys in a male dominated profession.

"I'll tell you one thing, I cannot do my job without these guys," she said. "They're a good group of guys. They're tough. But, they're big teddy bears."

The Pineville Fire Department says in the past 10 years, they've only had about two or three women apply to become a firefighter. But, none of them made the cut.

"Either because of the agility test or something like that, we would lose them," said Chief Eddie Laborde. "But, there's not many that apply. We don't have any on the list right now."

Candidates must pass entry and psychological exams, interviews, background checks, and physicals. But, it's the times agility test that ends the process for most hopefuls. 

"She's tough enough," said Chief Laborde. "Smart enough. And, good enough to do the job as a fire captain. But, she can also show some of the feminine side when you have bad scenes with patients or family. She's really good out there."

Boone says, while the test is tough, it needs to be in order to ensure that both men and women can fight fires safely.

"They should be able to do the same things a man can do," she said.

Boone gave me a taste of what it's like to step into her shoes for the day - literally. While I got to skip out on the agility test, it still didn't take long to realize that being a firefighter probably isn't my calling.

But, she says if another woman believes it's her calling, gender shouldn't hold them back.

"If she can do it, try it out or come ride sometime with us to see if this is something she wants to do," she said.

Boone says she can't imagine doing anything else.

"No. I've got a good group of guys I work with," she said. "I wouldn't change for the world. They're family. They're my brothers. They make this job worth it."

The City of Alexandria has one female firefighter as well. Lacy Lejune joined last year. She's the first one they've hired since 2003.
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