Three Women among New Firefighters in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, Pa.--  There were several milestones for the newest batch of firefighters sworn in Thursday in Wilkes-Barre.

Six new recruits became members of the city's fire department -- three men and three women.

This is the first time in the city's history there have been female firefighters.

"The three female firefighters that were hired today, they took the test same as the male firefighters. They took the examination, the took the physical agility test. They earned their right to be a Wilkes-Barre firefighter," said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.

Next to the three new male recruits stood Jessica Crawford, Danielle Johnson, and Kristen Payton, creating a milestone for the department that's been in service for more than 200 years.

"I don't look at it as making history. It was just a great opportunity for me to enter the workforce and be able to make a difference in the community around me and to be able to help people and I just I am grateful for that opportunity," Jessica Crawford said.

Over the last year and a half, 16 firefighter/EMTs in Wilkes-Barre have retired. The fire chief tells Newswatch 16 this most recent recruitment of three men and three women brings the department back up to speed.

"We had a swearing-in earlier this month where we hired seven firefighters and the additional six today, we can get back to somewhat normal operations in the fire department," said the chief.

This recruitment ceremony inside Wilkes-Barre City Hall marked another first for the department -- the first time a husband and wife will serve alongside each other as firefighters

Michael Crawford has been with the department nearly 20 years, and now his wife Jessica will join him. Both have the support of their 11 children.

"It is amazing and we are all extremely proud," said their daughter Kaelyn Crawford.

"This is actually really exciting. My kids have been so, so excited and so proud. My husband has been so excited and so proud which just made this day even more special, that they were all here and able to enjoy it with us," Jessica Crawford said.

"Michael Crawford has been a great firefighter/EMT for nearly 20 years and I know his wife and she has a great work ethic. If she can raise 11 children and do such a good job, I am quite confident that she could come to the fire department and do the same thing with our staff," Chief Delaney said.



  • Bob Stevens

    Equality is great and all, but women aren’t as physically strong as men… that’s science. Gonna be able to carry all the gear plus say 250lbs of dead weight dragging a person out?

    • Bob Stevens

      Downvoters can deny science and SJW virtue signal all they want, but what I stated is a fact.
      On average, men are 6-7 times stronger than women of their weight. They have more muscle mass.

    • Giggity-MF-goo

      Bob, thats very true. luckily there are plenty of tasks they will do fine with, like driving a rig or running a pump or operating aerial equipment. All these able bodies young guys want to part of it, volunteer or paid.

    • justinyouknow

      Hello Bob, Men statistically have 40% more skeletal muscle mass on average than women as drawn from multiple studies. You can find it on Livestrong. The women you are seeing in the video above are not average women by any means. Knowing one of these women in particular, she puts to shame a majority of the men you would meet. The other two are veterans within other districts I believe, and we’re lucky to have motivated people who do their best in the face of your criticisms. I would say that, this was poor reporting on the part of WNEP. These are the first women to join the WB Fire Department. They chose to focus on how many kids one of them had, and how she was married to another firefighter instead. Were they afraid to invoke more of Bobby’s poor statistics?

      • Bob Stevens

        While the science still stands, you do point out something they should have mentioned. Surprising that CNN Jr would focus on the old thought process of women are only for child bearing and its their husband that is seen and known, rather than their qualifying background.
        My point is the equality argument always just want to have women in the position but never talk about how they need to be above average. A 110lb model isn’t doing these jobs, nor are 400lb femwhales.
        If they can physically and mentally do the job, more power to them.

    • 16observer

      Hope it doesn’t turn out like female police officers. Most times in a take down the female officer stands aside while the male officer does the job. If they are capable of doing the job I’m all for it. But special allowances should not be made just so we can keep the “everyone is equal” narrative going.

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