"There was a lot of pride and there was a lot of fulfillment," firefighter Christina Terrazas said of the first female crew in 133 years on CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell

By Joelle Goldstein
June 25, 2020 01:37 PM

A group of female firefighters in California has made history — and the trailblazers expect to continue doing so.

This week, CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell celebrated the Pasadena Fire Department (PFD) staffing an all-female engine crew during one of their shifts.

Though the department has been around for 133 years, the significant moment marked the first time that the PFD staffed a crew comprised of females only.

"To have all women there, there was a lot of pride and there was a lot of fulfillment," PFD firefighter Christina Terrazas told the outlet. "It felt like it should've happened a long time ago."

Terrazas explained to CBS News that in her 19 years of working as a firefighter, she's never been on with an all-female crew.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, only 8 percent of firefighters were female in 2018. Of the 370,000 career firefighters in the U.S., 15,200 (4 percent) were female. Similarly, there were 745,000 volunteer firefighters in 2018 but females only accounted for 78,500 (11 percent) of them.

Through the years, Terrazas said she has worked to encourage more young girls to consider pursuing a career as a firefighter at camps and other community events.

One of those girls is Terrazas' daughter, Malia. Speaking to CBS News, the 7-year-old explained why she wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps and how much she admired her.

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"I just think it's a great opportunity to help people," Malia explained to the outlet, adding that she thinks her mother is "really cool" because "she drives a fire engine and there's not a lot of female firefighters."

For Terrazas, having the experience she did this week has inspired her, as well as her colleagues, to push for it to become a more regular occurrence.

"I would love an all-female crew," she told CBS News, noting that she doesn't want their historic moment to be a one-time thing.

"We're gonna keep pushing forward and break through those glass ceilings," Terrazas said, "and we're gonna support one another along the way."