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Just one of the guys

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

Looking back, it makes sense to Wendy Chinn that she became a firefighter, and it wouldn’t make sense if Brenda Fromhold was doing anything else.

Chinn and Fromhold are the only active-duty female firefighters in Federal Way.

According to Women in Fire Service Inc., an organization that tracks the number of female firefighters nationally, about 6,000 women are career, full-time firefighters. That number steadily grows. There are more than 20 women leading departments around the country, from small departments with a handful of crew members to those like Joanne Hayes-White, chief of San Francisco’s fire department with 1,800 career firefighters and Eileen Lewis, chief of Tacoma’s fire department with 435 full-time firefighters, who manage large metropolitan commands. In fact, Tacoma has 32 female firefighters and officers and at one time had an all-woman, according to Capt. Jo Davis. One of Chinn’s former mentors and bosses is a chief in another department, and a woman.

Chinn and Fromhold say working in a traditionally male-dominated profession is nothing new for them and not something they think a whole lot about.

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