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Florida fire rescue celebrates 1st all-female crew

It never happened at the Palm Beach Gardens fire department -- until now.
Credit: Krystyna Krakowski

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Who runs a crew out of the Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue? Five strong women.

Each of them celebrated history Friday, Sept. 18, when they became the first all-female crew. Firefighter Krystyna Krakowski shared the achievement on Facebook, saying it's "beyond empowering to stand alongside these strong women."

The others? That's Julie Dudley, Kelsey Krzywada, Sandi Ladewski and Monica Marzullo.

"It was completely organic," said Krakowski, talking about how the women found themselves working together at the department. "It’s never happened in our department to have a woman in every position in house."

The list of responsibilities for the team runs long, from responding to fire scenes, car crashes, gas leaks, medical calls and the like. Krakowski herself is a lieutenant, second in charge at the station and one who can be first on the scene during an emergency.

Krakowski says on top of running a great shift that day, the crew broke barriers.

"I wish and we all pray it does happen again!" she said. "...I don't know if we'll get that lucky again."

Krakowski hopes to keep the good thing going by raising money for Firefighters to the Rescue Inc., a nonprofit meant to help first responders fighting their own battles.

The all-female crew wore the shirt of fellow Palm Beach Gardens firefighter Brian Wolnewitz, who was diagnosed earlier this year with stage four lung cancer. Krakowski says the 40-year-old father of four never smoked a day in his life; it's suspected he might have fallen ill from his day-to-day work.

"He's our driving force," she added.

We made history!!!! First time in our department we have have had an all female crew!!! It is beyond empowering to stand...

Posted by Krystyna Krakowski Heiser on Saturday, September 19, 2020

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