Los Angeles Fire Department grad who was top of her class still going strong 1 year later

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Last year, Caroline Carpenter made history by becoming the first female Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter to graduate at the top of her class.

Now, after a year on the job - Eyewitness News caught up with her to see how she's been doing.

"It's a relief, but at the same time there's just so much more now for me to do. We have our urban search and rescue team here, so I've been taking classes so I can be on that team. It's a lot going on so it's kind of the tip of the iceberg," she said.

Carpenter is a single mother and said with the demands of the job and parenting, she's lacking sleep. But that doesn't seem to slow her down.

"Coming to work and not knowing exactly what's going to happen - the whole thing is kind of fun and exciting and a great thing to look forward to in the morning," she said.

So what has it been like to work with her?

"She's a go-getter for sure. We get here in the morning and then her and I, we usually come out and stay fresh on the skills. We'll throw ladders, we'll pull out a piece of equipment, we'll practice with it," firefighter Joshua Kiss said.

Working out and staying strong is extremely important to be a firefighter because the gear alone is heavy.

"We have heavy ladders. We have heavy equipment that we're walking around with all the time. Our gear itself is heavy. So you have to be able to walk around and manage all these kinds of heavy and awkward things," she said.

She also has some advice for those who want to follow in her footsteps.

"Work out - every day, really hard. Push yourselves really hard. You have to be strong. If you aren't an athlete already, you have to make yourself an athlete. There's so many other things that you have to learn, you don't want to worry about your physical fitness once you get on the job," Carpenter said.
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