The City of Pittsfield welcomed two new firefighters to the department at the City Council meeting on Oct. 10 – including the city’s first-ever female firefighter.
The City Council unanimously approved the appointments of Abigail Lemanski and Matthew Bainbridge, both of Pittsfield, to the department. Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski praised the candidates for their exemplary ability, and said both would officially begin their careers as probationary firefighters on Monday, Oct. 16.
The addition of the new firefighters was made even more poignant with Lemanski’s appointment. Since the establishment of the city’s paid fire department in 1891, all firefighters serving with department have been male.
It’s a step that Mayor Linda Tyer says she’s especially proud of recognizing, as it demonstrates the city’s commitment to inclusion.
“I’m on a mission to advance diversity inside every aspect of this organization. Appointing Abigail Lemanski as the city’s first female firefighter is a significant milestone in these efforts to broaden diversity. She successfully completed the civil service examinations required for the job. I am confident that Abby will excel during training and be an invaluable addition to the city’s fire department.”
The hiring process consists of a written civil service exam, qualifying physical abilities exams, interviews with members of the Command Staff, and medical and psychological evaluations. Czerwinski said that there were previously females on the list, but none who were able to make it to the top for inclusion.
Czerwinski said Lemanski earned her position and looked forward to her service with the department. Lemanski has served as a volunteer firefighter for the town of Lenox.
“In the past seven years that I’ve served as fire chief, we’ve replaced almost a third of the 87 sworn firefighters in the department typically due to retirements, but this is the first time in those seven years, that we’ve had a female qualify to be hired,” Czerwinski said. “I have no doubt that Abigail will be able to physically do anything and everything that every other firefighter is required to do.”
For more information, please contact Roberta McCulloch-Dews, Director of Administrative Services, at 413-499-9322.