Albert Lea welcomes its first full-time female firefighter

(ABC 6 News) – For the first time in its over 140 year history, the Albert Lea Fire Department has welcomed its first full-time female firefighter.

Brandi Krenz grew up in the Albert Lea area and said she’s always been a small-town girl at heart. So, when it came to figuring out a career, she knew she wanted to do something to serve the community that meant so much to her.

"I wasn’t one that was really going to move away so, I’ve had a few different careers and trying to figure out where I fit here, and so it’s fun to be able to serve the community. It’s inspiring," said Brandi.

She started out as an on-call firefighter in 2018, and after two years of hard work and dedication. She said she knew she was ready for the next step.

"I had to take a physical agility test, do a written test and then do an interview. Before the written test I had to review all my math skills from high school and it was very nerve-racking," she said.

Brandi put her skills to the test alongside other hopefuls from a cross Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakota’s. It all paid of when she received word that she was to become the very first full-time female firefighter for the Albert Lea Fire Department.

"She’s been working at it for quite sometime. She’s always been one to work three four jobs since she’s 16 years old and knowing that she is going to be taking on a pretty extensive full time position, it was nice to see her relax a little bit," said Brandi’s husband Zakry.

Her husband Zakry is also an on-call fire fighter for Albert Lea, and when it came time for his wife to receive her pin, he was able to play a very special role.

"Definitely an honor being able to pin her as a full time firefighter, the first female full time firefighter in Albert Lea. I wasn’t aware that I was going to be the one that was going to pin her up until about the day before. So, I was a little nervous at first," said Zakry.

She was officially sworn in as one of Albert Lea’s bravest and as a groundbreaker on June 13th.

"It’s kind of the progression of the game, but it’s special being in our community. It kind of awesome people makes ’em take a double take," said Brandi.

Brandi also serves as an E.M.T. and she looks forward to what her new position has to offer.