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Local female firefighter hangs up gear after 26 years

Posted at 9:15 PM, Nov 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 06:48:36-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After decades of service, a female Kansas City firefighter is hanging up her uniform.

Christine Dailey-McPheron spent 26 years at Station 37 as a Fire Apparatus Operator (FAO).

"It's not an easy career,” Chad Dailey, a fellow KCFD firefighter, said, “and she did a respectful 26 years.”

Dailey-McPheron grew up in a family full of first responders, but fighting fires wasn't originally in her plans. She said it was later in life that her father, a retired firefighter, talked her into the job.

Now, she shares that bond with her dad and her two brothers who also are on the department.

"Sharing the fire service, having that in common, is a bond like no other between what we already have as brother and sister," Dailey-McPheron said.

But becoming a firefighter is a career choice many women do not make. According to the National Fire Protection Association, only 7 percent of firefighters were women in 2017. The number dropped to 4 percent for women who made firefighting their entire career.

"I think women are probably under represented in public safety as a whole,” Matthew Black, of the Kansas City Fire Department, said, “but we do have a lot of women that serve and serve well.”

October 1 was Dailey-McPheron’s last day on the job, but the coworkers she calls family want her back.

"Nothing but proud to have served with her,” KCFD Captain Mike Davis said. “She was an amazing firefighter. I always tell her I wish she'd come back. She could drive a firetruck like nobody's business.”

For the last 10 years of her career, Dailey-McPheron drover pumper 37 around town.

"Everybody in Waldo knew, too,” Dailey-McPheron said. “They saw the big, curly hair, stay out of the way.”

Looking back at her career, Dailey-McPheron said she's glad she made the choice to serve.

"I would just say there's nothing more fulfilling than serving your community," Dailey-McPheron said.