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Lawton Fire Department Gets First Female Firefighter

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LAWTON Okla_ It's a first for the Lawton Fire Department; a woman is working to join the ranks of what has always been an all-male group.

Kristina Good is one of the 15 cadets currently in the department's new hire academy. Friday was the 22-year-old's third week of training, and she didn't miss a beat, despite her tiny stature.

Most little girls dream of growing up to become a princess or a teacher. Kristina Good has always wanted to be a firefighter. It's a dream many people doubted would ever come true, but Kristina has made it her goal to turn her dream into reality.

"Just because people tell me that I can't do it makes me want to do it even more," Kristina said.

She stands just over 5' tall. While some may question her stature and strength, she easily combats that with her passion for the job.

"I love the physical aspect," Kristina said. "I love going in, putting out the fire and just being a part of the family of everyone else on the department."

The heavy smoke, flames, and extreme heat were all part of Friday's hands-on training, and Kristina worked right alongside her male colleagues to put out the fire, even though most tower above her.

"It doesn't feel any different," Kristina said. "I feel like one of the guys. We all do the same things, and we all work together."

LFD Training Officer Jared Williams said it's the purpose of the academy to hold all 15 new firefighters to the same standard.

"We don't train any different, whether they are male or female," Williams said. "We look at firefighters the same. When we go into our hiring process, we want the best firefighters that we can get for Lawton."

Kristina said the natural build of a woman provides her with some obstacles that she knows has to work harder to overcome.

"The upper body strength is a definite factor for a female on the department, and that is something that I definitely need to work on," Kristina said.

Despite some possible obstacles, Kristina is excited to see what comes next. She's happy to blaze a trail and live out a dream.

"I am glad to serve Lawton," Kristina said. "Despite my gender, I am so glad that I had this opportunity to serve Lawton. I am glad that I am the first, and I hope there are other women that would come and join the department and do their best to make Lawton a better place."

This class of 15 new hires is the largest on record for the Lawton Fire Department, but it will not increase the overall number of firefighters, only replace those who have recently retired.

Friday's class was only the second new hire class that got a hands-on experience with actual fire. One new firefighter said it's been the best part.

"The last couple of days, it has been a lot of fun," Probationary Firefighter John Hambrick said. "It gets your adrenaline pumping, kind of exhilarating."

The academy will continue until November.

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