Mother-daughter firefighting duo first for fire department
Katie Holloway, 22, joined the same station where her mother was stationed when she began her career in 1988
LONDON — The first mother and daughter firefighting duo are serving together at the same time for the London Fire Brigade.
ITV.com reported that 22-year-old Katie Holloway just joined Tooting Fire Station, the same station her mother, Sally Harper, was first posted to when she started her career in 1988. When Sally joined, there were only seven women firefighters in London.
"Katie may have joined the same station as me, but it has changed so much since the late '80s," Harper said. "My locker was in a cupboard, which I had to go through the men's changing rooms to access."
Harper said it's heartening to hear Katie's experience has been different and that crews have been welcoming and supportive.
"After giving birth to my first daughter, Joanne, I was the first firefighter to come back to the station after having a baby," she said. "And attitudes toward women in the fire service were sometimes very challenging."
Katie just completed her first full shift and said she was thrown into the deep end.
"We had a bin fire six minutes into my first shift and dealt with incidents from the recent storm named after me," Katie said. "We've also carried out home fire safety visits and done lots of training so it's been full-on, but everyone has been so lovely and made me feel at home."
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said he's glad Katie followed in her mother's footsteps and joined the London Fire Brigade.
"The achievement is extra special as it comes when we celebrate our 150th anniversary," Dobson said. "Sally is a fantastic role model and has done so much to change attitudes toward women in the fire service. I wish Katie every success in her career and will be sad to see Sally retire later this year."