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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Women in the Fire Service

History Links


Molly Williams, a former slave in New York City, is often reported to be the first known female firefighter. She became a member of Oceanus Engine Company #11 in about 1815. Unfortunately not much is recorded about her life, but she is thought to have played an important role during the blizzard of 1818.

Women in the Seattle Fire Service

Historic Photographs

29th October 1942: Women recruited for volunteer fire guard duties who are fully trained in fire fighting techniques. Eleanor Isaac and Iris Seaby are working the left hose while Lydia Morris and Emily Johnson tackle the right. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

1925, Women of Achille Serre Ltd’s Private Fire Brigade head off to compete in the London Fire Brigades’ Tournament. (Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

1941, Women train at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard during WWII. (Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Girton College All-Female Fire Brigade (photo retrieved from

1916, The UK Women’s Fire Brigade takes a salute. (Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images)