For years firehouses were considerd an all-boys club but in recent years that has begun to change as young women have rolled into the ranks. Recently the welcomed its third woman to the rig as Samantha LoBue received her Junior Shield, rising from the rank of Cadet.
"As one of two females, we're breaking new ground," LoBue said. "But everyone accepts Stacey [Kufel] and me as members, They treat us like they treat everyone else and help us when we need it."
As a Junior Firefighter, Samantha spent the past two years training under the tutelage of the entire department about the responsibilities and duties of a firefighter, how to hook up a hose line and change out an oxygen pack.
"You take an oral test and you have to identify everything on a rig, what it's used for, when you would use it," LoBue said. "The most important thing is to prove that you can confidently connect the hose to a hydrant and change out an oxygen bottle."
Like so many firefighters before her, the decision to join the department was based on following in a family members footsteps and also a desire to give back to her community.
"My grandfather was a firefighter for and I always looked up to him in that aspect he was doing a great thing," LoBue said. "I'm always trying to find ways to volunteer and help the community. It's an honor and I feel this just my way of taking the next step forward."
Along with her grandfather's inspiration, LoBue also credits fellow firefighter Tony Meo for bringing into the department. LoBue and her family moved to the area four years and at the time Meo was a substitute teacher at . He invited her to an upcoming Fire Prevention Open House and from that day she became a cadet.
Now the 16-year-old will attend Fire 1 Academy to work towards becoming a full-fledged firefighter. She will remain a Junior member until her 18th birthday or following college graduation as the places a higher emphasis on higher education first before responding to calls.
"They want to make sure junior members are doing well in school and require a copy of your grades," LoBue said.
Kufel and Kara Burns were the first female firefighters in Oradell.