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Claim to Flame: Three Famous Firefighters Throughout History

There’s no denying that it takes great bravery and sacrifice to be a firefighter. With the effects of fires being devastating (something we know well being a fire safety company), running head first into the action to save others is a job not for the fainthearted, but one that saves the lives of many.


As a tribute to those across the world who put their lives at risk day in and day out to save us and our homes in the event of a fire, we’ve decided to explore three famous firefighters in this blog. Read on below to see who these are.


1 | Molly Williams


Credited with being the first known female firefighter in the United States, Molly Williams is also said to be one of the first black firefighters in New York (before the New York City Fire Department, or FDNY, was formed).


She was a slave to merchant Benjamin Aymar, who had her come along with him to the firehouse he volunteered at, Oceanus Engine Company No. 11, which was a volunteer fire company in New York at the time.


It is said that, in 1818, Williams was looking after most of the men at the firehouse, who had been struck with the flu, when the alarm bell sounded to signify that a fire broke out nearby. Since she was the only one well enough to go, she single-handedly hauled out the hand-pulled water pump in order to extinguish the fire.


Impressed with her actions when they were unable to assist, the men of Oceanus 11 declared her an unofficial member of their team and she became ‘Volunteer No. 11’.


2 | Steve Buscemi


Though he is best known for being a famous actor, starring in the likes of films such as Con Air, Reservoir Dogs and even the family favourite Monsters, Inc., Steve Buscemi actually started his working life as a firefighter.


Between 1980 and 1984, Buscemi worked as a firefighter with Engine Company No. 55 in New York. However, even after his acting career had taken off, Buscemi still returned to his old firehouse after 9/11 to volunteer.


Working twelve-hour shifts for a week, he helped his fellow firefighters dig through rubble to look for survivors. Alongside his selfless actions at this time, Buscemi is also known for being an advocate for firefighters’ welfare.


3 | Dr. Sabrina Cohen-Hatton


A truly inspirational firefighter, Dr. Sabrina Cohen-Hatton is the Chief Fire Officer of the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.


Despite battling homelessness from the age of 15, she has not only gone on to progress her firefighting career to its current senior position, but also has completed a PhD in behavioural neuroscience at Cardiff University. Part of her research during this time resulted in a new decision control process that led to the number of commanders operating at the most significant level of situational awareness increasing up to five times.


Dr. Cohen-Hatten has also received numerous awards and honours as a result of her work, and has also written two published books within the past four years.


Ek Fire Protection


As grateful as we all are for the work of firefighters, we all hope we won’t be in a situation where we need to be saved by one. Ensure you and everyone at your establishment is safe by taking the necessary precautions.

We can help here at EK Fire Protection. From fire risk assessments to fire alarm installations, you can count on us to keep your business safe. Get in touch for more information.


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