The town of West Hartford has a new leader in the fire department who is making history.
Marsha McCurdy Adell stepped into the new role Jan. 30. She’s the first Black woman to hold that job and the only Black woman in the town’s fire service.
It’s a promotion 20 years in the making and one she’s overjoyed about.
“I am now the deputy fire marshal for the town of West Hartford,” she said beaming with pride in an interview with NBC Connecticut.
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It’s the latest step up for the West Hartford native who at age 24 decided to make a career pivot into the unknown and become a firefighter.
“I had never seen a Black woman who was a firefighter before. I kept an open mind and just thought if somebody else can believe in me, maybe it’s something I can pursue and I fell in love with it.”
She made history when she finished the fire academy in 2000.
Over the years, she worked her way up through the department - fighting fires, performing rescues and more.
Now, her fulltime focus as deputy marshal is community risk reduction and outreach, looking over construction plans, inspections and educating others about the fire service - a career path she didn’t know existed when she got started.
“It is very different from putting on my gear every day and jumping in the fire truck. What’s awesome is that I get to create really wonderful relationships with people who are actually in the community.”
She wants more young people to realize being a firefighter is probably a lot more than they think; it’s a job with rewards you might not realize. But she’s been living it for two decades.
“I want to be an example to other people. To all those little boys and girls out there who don’t always see someone who looks like them doing the jobs that they might have an interest in.”