There are only six female career firefighters in the state of Vermont. Alexis Fojo a firefighter at the South Burlington Fire Department, is one of them.
Fojo said she joined out of a desire to serve the community. Now she hopes to empower more women to become firefighters.
“I love getting off the truck and having little girls yank on their mom and go, ‘Mom, mom — look it’s a girl,’ and having a mom thank me for being out in the field. That’s why I do this job,” Fojo said.
Fojo said it’s a team effort to save lives and be there for the community. “It is never, ‘you did this, and you’re the hero,'” she said. “We are always two in, two out. That’s how this works — we’re a team.”
Chief Terry Francis was there for Fojo’s candidate physical agility test that all firefighters in Vermont have to complete.
“Two males that were with her when we were in the burn cell, flaked out, they quit, they stopped doing the job because it’s scary, it’s hot, it’s dark,” Francis said.
Fojo never gave up.
“Alexis hung on the end of the nozzle trying to do her job and put the fire out and she had two guys in the corner just saying it was hot,” Francis said. “And it’s like, ‘Okay, I know what two people I don’t want, and I know the person that I do want,’” Francis said.
Francis said social media will play a key in how they recruit.
“With this next generation it’s how they communicate,” he said. “Not how I communicate, but certainly how they communicate, and that is important.”
Fojo said she hopes to continue being an example for others.
“I want to empower more girls, and I want to be an awesome mentor to anybody else coming up, male or female, so they understand they are capable of anything,” Fojo said.