Cranston welcomes first female firefighter recruit

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The new class of recruits welcomed into the Cranston Fire Department by Mayor Allan Fung made history Monday.

Not only is it the largest class the city has seen, but the first ever female recruit is a part of it.

Bill McKenna, Cranston Fire Chief said, Rebecca Lema “finished high up in the testing. She finished all the same items that were required from the rest of the recruits, and she was lucky enough to fit into the 17 that we hired.”

The department has had difficulty recruiting minorities in the past, explained McKenna. Lema is “the first that’s finished high in the charts,” he said.

Lema, along with the 16 men in the class will now begin 20 weeks of training.

“They’ll be learning firefighter levels one and two, basic levels, confined space, hazardous materials, trench rescue, ropes and other classes to be taken thoughout,” McKenna said.

The chief said the department was excited to welcome Lema and the rest of the trainees.

The department will have to go through modification to make sure it complies with federal law when a woman is brought on board.