Local News

Durham makes history with first African-American female fire battalion chief

Posted March 16, 2021 3:48 p.m. EDT
Updated March 16, 2021 7:28 p.m. EDT

— History is made in Durham. The fire department now has its first female African-American battalion chief.

Angelica Greene, one of the department’s longest serving active female firefighters, is now leading the force.

"I’m glad that I’m the first, but I’m hoping not to be the last," said Greene.

WRAL interviewed Angelica Greene about 10 years ago. She was a captain then, and one of only 10 women in a 280-person department.

“It wasn’t one of those things that I thought, 'Oh I want to be a firefighter when I grow up.' That wasn’t me," said Greene.

Life experiences inspired her to take on the call to save lives. "The joy that you see on peoples faces when you’re coming to just help. It’s a feeling that I can’t even describe. It’s gratifying," she said.

She said there weren’t many firefighters who looked like her, so she hopes to pave the way for others.

“For me, coming up and moving through the ranks, I had to constantly feel like I had to prove myself to the organization, to the guys, to say that I belong," she said.

She worked harder and faster, to become the best version of herself physically and mentally.

"It feels like a milestone, and you would think in 2021, first of all, there should be more African-American women to join me in this profession, but just overall it feels wonderful," she said.

She started her position as the battalion chief in August of 2020.

"It feels wonderful, honestly. Not so much that I’m the only one, but that for the first time in this organization I’m being recognized and respected," she added.

Now during Women’s History Month, this moment means even more to her. She motivates other women to step forward to achieve their wildest dreams.

"I’d like to show not just the Durham community but all of North Carolina and even the United States that, we too, as women of color, can achieve these goals if we put in the work. If I can do it so can you," she added.

Greene is now one of 18 women out of a 384-person fire department. The City of Durham fire department is hiring and will be accepting applications until March 31.

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