History made: Forslund becomes New Haven’s first woman Deputy Chief Fire Marshal

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– One woman in Connecticut is making a big accomplishment.

Jennifer Forslund started at the Grand Avenue station back in 1997, when she was just 20 years old. She never thought she would blaze a trail, but she definitely did.

2001, flames tore through some Ferry Street homes. It was then firefighter Jennifer Forslund’s first big fire, a world away from where she was a few years before.

“I was going to school at Southern and I was unloading trucks at Homegoods and waitressing at night, and I was like, well, this is not what I want to do. So the fire department was hiring,” said Forslund.

So she applied. Her father, a captain on the force, swore her in.

“At the beginning, it was a transition coming into a male dominant profession, but I think it just took time like with anything to show them what your abilities were, what your skills were, what your capabilities were,” said Forslund.

With confidence, she climbed the ranks, landing the Fire Inspector investigator position in 2016. Most recently investigating the arson case at the Mosque over the summer.

Then two weeks ago, she became the first woman in the 157 year history of the department to become a Deputy Chief Fire Marshal.

“I was raised that I could be whatever I wanted to be, when I came here, I wanted to grow, learn, and advance in the department and it took a long time,” said Forslund.

Looking around she’s one of 13 other women in the department. And one of a handful of other female deputy fire marshals across the state.

“Women are so underrepresented in the fire service across the board. So it was amazing to be able to do this, and advance and become a role model for women in the fire service, and just other women and girls in the community,” said Forslund. “Anything is possible. I will absolutely never stop thriving to be better and be more efficient in making changes for the good and the department in this city.”

And she’s not done making history just yet. She says if there’s an even higher position open in the department, she will throw her hat in the ring.

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