Cleveland’s Only Black Female Firefighter Retires After 30 Years

Illustration for article titled Cleveland’s Only Black Female Firefighter Retires After 30 Years
Screenshot: Daphne Tyus (Channel 19 News)

After a 30-year career, Cleveland’s only black woman firefighter has retired.

Channel 19 News reports that Daphne Tyus retired from the Cleveland Fire Department on Friday. Tyus was one of only three women in the department and, as the only black woman, she says it was a long and difficult road.


“When I got that particular accolade, I said ‘I can do this job,’” Tyrus said in an interview. “I could do it because they didn’t think I could.”

“Did I cry? Not on the job,” Tyus continued. “Did you cry? Maybe at home. The next day I got up again and did it again.”

Tyus joined the CFD in 1987, and she said at the time, it was rare to see women doing that job.

“You’d never seen a female on the job; however, there are many females across the United States as of today,” she said.

Tyus received many honors during her career and was featured, along with the other two female firefighters, on the cover of Cleveland Magazine in 2018. According to the article she was featured in, the city hasn’t hired a female firefighter since 1989. Now, there are only two women in a department of over 700 firefighters. This makes what Tyus has planned for herself next especially important.

She said she plans to continue her work by training aspiring female firefighters. So if the city of Cleveland sees a new generation of women putting out fires and saving lives, you’ll know who to thank.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons



She should write a book. I have no doubt that she’s got plenty of stories to tell.