Flint Fire Department appoints first female interim deputy fire chief

FLINT (WJRT) (12/12/18) - The Flint Fire Department is making history and knocking down stereotypes.

Carrie Edwards Clemons was recently appointed interim deputy fire chief in the Flint Fire Department. She's the first woman to hold the position.

"I decided I was going to do it, so I never thought I can't do it," Clemons said.

In a field often dominated by men, Clemons was determined to stand out for more than just her gender.

"I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. I'm here to help all the firefighters. I'm here to help the community. I don't focus on the negative or the resentment. I don't focus on any of that, I focus on what's next," Clemons said.

For last 18 years, Clemons has held a number of positions within the Flint Fire Department. She took an unusual path before entering the fire service.

"I went to school to be a teacher and so I wanted to give back. I had the heart for service and I heard the department was hiring, so I had the opportunity to be a paramedic," Clemons said.

She eventually hit the streets as a firefighter.

"The side job was fire. It was hot and so everything else kind of lead to this," Clemons said.

She is the highest ranking woman in the Flint Fire Department's history and the first female deputy fire chief.

"A lot of the things I do is usually bounced off of her," said Fire Chief Raymond Barton. "We do have a command staff. We have battalion chiefs and safety officers, but she is definitely chief material."

Clemons hopes to inspire other women -- and men -- to create their own path in life.

"I'm going to make the community proud. I have made my family so proud. I have a daughter, she's 17 and she is just, 'Oh mommy.' ... Knowing that she can do all things, that there is nothing in her way, that's just amazing," Clemons said.

Firefighting has become a family affair. Clemons' two sons are also firefighters in Flint.

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