PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a Philadelphia first on International Women’s Day, and it’s a proud day for the Philadelphia Fire Department. The city now has its first Latina fire captain after promoting Cecilia Ortiz to the post Friday.
The fire department promoted over 60 uniformed members and a civilian on Friday, but no one was more proud to walk across the stage than Ortiz.
Ortiz became the first Latina promoted to the rank of fire captain, and she’s embracing the trailblazing role even more so on International Women’s Day. She took on the role with her 14-year-old daughter looking on.
“She’s super excited for me, especially that today is national Women’s Day,” Ortiz said, “and just to show the empowerment that as females, we can move forward and fill positions like this in public safety as well.”
Ortiz said growing up, she knew she wanted to work in community service. She also said that it was obvious that there were few women that looked like her in certain fields.
“It just means a lot to me because growing up, I didn’t see a lot of females in particular, in general, serving in this field and I didn’t see a lot of Hispanics,” Ortiz said.
Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel says more diversity only strengthens the department.
“Sixty promotes, 375-plus years of experience, it was a very representative group, a very diverse group,” Thiel said. “Of course, it’s International Women’s Day, so we’re always happy to see all the great women we have in the Philadelphia Fire Department.”
After years of discipline, determination and dedication, Ortiz is ready to lead in a new capacity – inspiring other women along the way.
“I hope that I can serve as a role model for other Latinas or just women in general to serve in a public safety position like this,” Ortiz said. “There’s nothing better.”