PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – The Palmer Fire Department has made history as they welcome their first female full-time firefighter.

Renee Forgues, a new recruit, began her first shift Monday, making her the fire department’s sixth full-time employee. Originally hired as an on call firefighter, she completed both the on-call and volume fire academy and EMT school through Roberge EMS Training Associates in Palmer, in less than a year. “My family definitely stepped up and helped me and my daughter so we could get it all done through our evenings and working regular shift through the day. It was difficult, but it was worth it, expressed Forgues.”

“It was difficult, but it was worth it”

Renee Forgues

At 36, Forgues says completing that took a lot of hard work and discipline, but she now feels accomplished and proud to serve. “I’m looking forward to having an exciting rewarding career, being a good influence to my daughter, creating a better life for us and something that will make me feel good at the end of the day,” said Forgues.

Credit: Palmer Fire Department

Her hope is that other women will recognize that even in fields traditionally dominated by men, women are still capable of competing. It’s expected she’ll go to the career academy later this November. She stated, “it’ll be a lot of hard work, I’m going to learn a lot though and the more I learn, the more I can provide and be an assest to my team here, which keeps myself and them safe.”

Local News

Kayleigh Thomas is a digital reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kayleigh on Twitter @kayleighcthomas and view her bio to see more of her work.