BOSWELL, Pa. (WTAJ) – Across the country, fighting fires is in most cases a male-dominated field. That’s not the case for three high school girls in Boswell, Pennsylvania.
Freshman Molly Gontis is just 16 years old. Her partners in firefighting, juniors Liliana Shumaker and Rebecca Slate, are only 17.
“You have to be a team, everybody has to work together to have one goal.” said Slate. “And what’s that goal? That goal is to get the fire out and have everybody safe.”
Their first fire was earlier this year as flames tore through a historic church.
“All of our pages went off on our phones,” said Gontis.
The high-schoolers were in class one minute, and rushing to the fire station the next. The girls can’t yet enter burning buildings, but that’s about the only thing they can’t legally do on the job.
Seeing catastrophe and tragedy at such a young age can take a toll.
“I have seen accidents where people don’t make it,” Slate said. “I’ve seen calls where we get there, they’re alive but they’re not when we leave, and that’s definitely hard to take in because you try to do everything you can to save every life possible.”
These “three amigos,” as they call themselves, are, at their core, volunteers. And they’re willing to sacrifice to save others.
“I just know that I’m helping someone and that maybe I’m changing their life in a way,” said Gontis.
“They will always remember … that ride in the ambulance, so what you do definitely impacts everyone around you,” said Shumaker.