Female volunteer firefighter makes history, breaks barriers at Delco fire company, here's how

A big first for a small, volunteer fire company in Delaware County, where a 34-year-old firefighter is making history in the department.

Sarah Haynes, a volunteer firefighter for Parkside for the last three years, is now the company’s first-ever female lieutenant and driver.

She says, "It’s exciting. It’s exciting."

Sarah grew up around the corner from the fire company and, as a young girl, she loved watching the trucks race by her home. She dreamt of one day driving a fire truck. Ironically, a firefighter behind the wheel all those years ago would teach her the ropes.

She continued, "I just remember his face, time after time after time, driving the fire truck up the street."

That veteran firefighter, Greg Humphreys says, "I’ve trained a lot of people over the years to drive. This has got to be one of my greatest honors to teach her, coming full circle."

And, Humphreys says he’s not a push over, but a hardcore trainer. "Cause when you pull up to a working fire with entrapment, that's the real deal. You need to know what you are doing with these trucks."

"When you know there’s other people on the other side of that door and you have kids of your own, for me, it drives me to be in there and try and save lives," Sarah continued.

Parkside Fire Chief, Dave Lamey, who has mentored Sarah, says she’s proven herself over and over and is a leader at the fire company. "We’re very proud of her. I’m very proud of her." He continued, "She always has good ideas. She always wants to do something. She'll say, ‘Let’s train on this. Can we do that? I want to learn this,’ and I appreciate that."

Sarah admits it hasn’t been easy. "It was intimidating at first, especially on a fire scene when I'm only one small female in a group of 30 males and there's only one or two of us."

Sarah, a wife and mom to two young daughters, 11-year-old Riley and four-year-old Autumn, wants to be a positive role model for them. "My heart just races with joy to do this for my girls and to be able to pave the way for other females who want to do this."

Sarah’s peers say she’s bringing new energy to the fire company and, of course, she’s working hard to recruit as many women firefighters as she can.