First woman firefighter in Ardmore

By: Teddy Safo Email
By: Teddy Safo Email

ARDMORE, OK -- History has been made at a local fire department. The city of Ardmore has hired its first female firefighter.

Wednesday, was Whitney Edwards' first day on the job and our own Teddy Safo caught up with her to see the newest member of the Ardmore Fire Department.

Ardmore's Fire Department has been around since 1895; 113 years later, 20-year-old Whitney Edwards can say she'll be the first woman ever to fight fires for the Ardmore Fire Department.

New Mexico native Whitney Edwards was the only woman volunteer firefighter in her hometown of Angel Fire. Now, she's the only woman fighting fires for the city of Ardmore; the first in the department’s 113 year history

"I didn’t believe it at first; took a lot of convincing from family,” she says. “It’s just a huge accomplishment."

Edwards' Shift Commander Darin Butler says a few women have tried to join the department, but they just couldn't pass the rigorous and intense physical tests. "She was really determined to be part of the team; [she has a] down to earth attitude, willing to learn and that’s what were looking for," he says.

She had to carry 125 pounds, 100 feet without stopping during the training. She doesn’t even weigh 125 pounds and had to run a mile-and-a-half in 13 minutes.

"We knew she had an excellent chance and getting on and being our first," Butler says.

Edwards says she's proud of accomplishing what no other woman has in the department’s more than a century history.

The excitement of being a firefighter and wanting to help others is something she intends to do for many years to come. "As soon as I figured it out, it became interesting; it became my dream. I want to do it as long as I can," she says.

She actually ended up in Ardmore while visiting some family in Stratford a few months ago. She says she heard about the Ardmore Fire Department and decided to check it out.

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