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By Donovan X. Ramsey

Beginning in March, a black woman will be at the helm of a major fire department for the first time in U.S. history.

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Theresa Deloach-Reed, 52, was named chief of the Oakland city fire department. Reed has been fighting fires for nearly 30 years, has seen many changes on the job and calls her appointment “exciting.”

Reed is leaving her position as assistant fire chief of San Jose, California. She said that her career as a firefighter began when her brother asked her to pass an application along to another brother. In 1986, Reed was working a job for a telephone company that involved her climbing poles to install new lines. Afraid of layoffs and with climbing experience, she decided to fill out the application herself.

“There are still a lot of departments that don’t have any women,” said Deloach-Reed in an interview with Reuters. “We still have a long way to go in regards to breaking down the doors.”

For the full story, please go to theGrio.

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