An all-female fire engine crew hit the streets Tuesday in a first for the Pasadena Fire Department.
The engine crew, based out of Fire Station 34 at Del Mar Boulevard and Holliston Avenue, was led by Captain Tricia Rodriguez, who has been a Pasadena firefighter for 28 years and became the first female fire captain in department history a decade ago. Also on the engine were Engineer Christina Terrazas, Firefighter-Paramedic Nicole Olsen and Firefighter Tawnie Johnson.
Rodriguez said she was proud to command the all-female engine crew. And it was also fun.
“This is the first time that all of the pieces have fallen into place,” she said. “All the stars aligned.”
The crew members have all worked together before, but never on the same engine, the captain said. As many as three female firefighters have been teamed together on an engine crew in the past, but never all four.
They will work together for a 24-hour shift before returning to their regular assignments.Rodriguez said her husband and their five children are supportive of her career.
Her two young sons are thrilled that their mother is a fire captain, and she’s able to use her career to show them that hard work can take a person wherever they want to go.
“It’s a good lesson,” she said.
She said she also hoped girls might take notice of the all-female engine crew and feel inspired to follow their dreams.
It’s not uncommon for Rodriguez to step off the “rig” and meet people who say they’ve never met a female firefighter before, let alone a captain, she said. “Even in 2020.”
The crew was assembled entirely by chance, Rodriguez added. All four crew members happened to be working overtime shifts on Tuesday and ended up assigned to the same engine.
Rodriguez said, coincidentally, she had just remarked the day before that it would be interesting to be part of an all-female engine crew at some time during her career. The very next shift, she was leading one.