Candace Acosta has joined the ranks of the all-male Manteca Fire Department as a reserve firefighter,
Acosta, 29, is the first woman since the early 1990s to serve with the Manteca department. She joins the fire service after serving nearly 10 years in the U.S. Air Force. She’s part of the crews that respond to fire and medical calls out of Station 1 on Powers Avenue.
During her military tenure she was involved in human resources and delved into personnel investigations for the service mostly on the East Coast.
Acosta went through a six-week internship academy that met Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It involved numerous drills including carrying the heavy 5 ½ inch line that hooks up the engines to fire hydrants.
The Hughson High School graduate serves as a manager for a restaurant and bar in Modesto.
Acosta holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice but decided the fire service was a better fit for her after discussing her future with an uncle who is a San Jose police officer and an aunt who works as a 911 dispatcher in San Jose.
Living with her mother in Modesto, she has a 5 year-old son, Frankie.
Acosta said she enjoys the adrenaline surge of the emergency fire and medical calls, and likes tough calls.
“I like challenges,” she said.
Acosta is also involved in fitness challenges and has two events scheduled in June. She trains in various disciplines sticking with a strict diet to support her strength development.
Acosta along with other reserves train twice a month, She is scheduled on 12 hour shifts at Station One over a limited number of days. Acosta is looking forward to search and rescue calls noting that she holds an advanced diver certification.
“It’s not about us – it’s about everyone else,” she said of herself and fellow firefighters.
“Every day has been a learning experience and, with every new experience, I get really excited about new challenges,” she said. “In Stockton last week we took part in a simulated basement fire and had wild fire training.”
In Ripon, the Consolidated Fire District now has three women firefighters on duty covering the 55 square-mile district .
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.