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Olathe Fire Department holds training session for future female firefighters

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OLATHE, Kan. -- More than 20 future recruits for the Olathe Fire Department were put through their paces Friday, but this group had one thing in common: they're all women.

It was a long day of pulling heavy hoses, crawling through mazes, climbing up ladders, and doing Emergency Medical Technician training.

Each recruit had her own reason for taking the challenge.

"I've always gone to the fire station, it's all boys. But having a woman role model is just amazing," Cassie Phelps said. Phelps is a senior at Gardner Edgerton High School, and she's pretty much grown up at the fire station. Her dad is a battalion chief in Gardner.

"I've always had a huge passion for it. My dad didn't really want me to do it because, he said it's a man's job," Phelps said, rolling her eyes. "So today I wanted to prove him wrong and show up the boys. That's what we do."

Maureen Griffin was a stay-at-home mom for years before she decided to go back to work. Her career choice surprised a lot of people.

"As a girl, you're a teacher or a dancer. You know, I mean, you never thought, 'I want to be a fireman,'" Griffin said.

The 23 girls who took the training were between the ages of 14 and 19. While some did it for fun or for the challenge, most are hoping to one day make it a full-time career.

"I thought this would be perfect because of the hours, and I love giving back to the community," Auna Wheeler said.

This was the first Hero Fire Training session at the Olathe Fire Department, and they said it was such a huge success, they plan on doing it every year.

If you are interested in the training, you can contact the Olathe Fire Department.