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Palm Beach Gardens Fire-Rescue Department

Five firefighters made history this past month by becoming the first all-female fire crew to staff a shift in the Palm Beach Gardens Fire-Rescue Department. This was the first time in 57 years of the department’s history for women to fill all five positions.  

The Palm Beach Gardens Fire and Rescue has 12 female firefighters on staff, making up 11% of their force. The crew, on September 18, included Rescue Lieutenant Krystyna Krakowski, Fire Medic Kelsey Krzywada, Fire Medic Julie Dudley, Lieutenant Monica Marzullo, and Driver Engineer Sandi Ladewski. These women, ranging from 29 to 53 years of age, feel incredibly empowered to be breaking the norms. They hope this moment serves as an inspiration to young women everywhere. 

Deputy Fire Chief James Ippolito admitted the staffing happened by chance that night, but he’s sure this won’t be the last time Palm Beach Gardens Fire and Rescue has an all-female squad shift. “The message that there are no boundaries, and that you can do anything you want to regardless of your gender, is important,” said Ippolito, who has a 7-year-old daughter. “You can put your heart and soul into it, and if you work hard, you can have it. That’s what I want for my daughter, and that’s what I want for the women in my community.”