Albert Lea Fire Rescue makes historic hire

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 11:14 PM CDT
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ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) – Brandi Krenz is putting the “her” in brotherhood. She’s the first full-time female firefighter for Albert Lea Fire and Rescue.

“I don’t really notice that there’s a difference,” Krenz said. “Sometimes I’ll forget that it’s not common.”

Krenz has been with the fire department since 2018, working part time. She was officially sworn in full-time with the city Monday; making her the first woman to do so.

“It’s a big deal,” Albert Lea Fire Rescue Capt. Dennis Glassel said. “She’s broke down some barriers. Traditionally, it’s a man dominated job, but she fits in just great.”

Krenz fits in as a great role model, too.

“We actually just visited a daycare yesterday, because they couldn’t believe that girls could be firefighters,” Krenz said. “I had to quiz them, can boys be firefighters? Yeah! Can girls be firefighters? Yeah!”

“It’s cool to see her be a role model like that,” Krenz’s partner and fellow firefighter J.T. Bellrichard said.

Firefighter: a badge she’s proud to wear and a title she’s earned.

“We all have to do the same job,” Glassel said. “Doesn’t matter what gender you call. People call 911 and they expect us to make their day better. It doesn’t matter man or woman. It doesn’t make a difference.”

“Do you do what the guys do? Well, I’m learning,” Krenz said. “I might not be able to do it the same way they can. Use my body mechanics differently. So yes, I do the same interviews, the same physical abilities testing. Most of what we do is mind over matter. So, if you tell yourself you can’t quit, then you can’t quit.”

Krenz is living proof -- and she hopes to inspire others, just like her.

“To be cliché,” Glassel said. “She’s just one of the boys.”

“She’s great, she brings a whole different energy to the shift everyday,” Bellrichard said.

“Just try, if there’s something you want to do in life,” she said. “Because you don’t know. You work hard and it pays off in the end.”

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