Peoria Fire Department announces first female battalion chief in suppression

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria trailblazer has ignited an internal fire, breaking boundaries in the first responder field.

The Peoria Fire Department promoted firefighter Lore Baxter to the rank of Battalion Chief in Suppression. She is the first female to hold this specific role.

Melanie Anderson was the first female battalion chief for the Peoria Fire Department. Baxter is the first in suppression, which means she will be the first female battalion chief to be in the field.

Baxter said she always wanted to be a firefighter.

“I wanted to prove that I can do this job, just like my male counterparts did,” she said.

Baxter said she was the only woman in the fire department for a long time.

“I was constantly trying to prove myself. Like it or not, I always felt like I had to go out of my way and work a little bit harder than some of my male counterparts. But to me, that was not a bad thing. It made me who I am today. It made me strong, It gave me the drive to learn. It gave me the drive to finish my education.”

Battalion Chief LORE BAXTER

Peoria’s Fire Chief, Jim Bachman, said Baxter was chosen because of her extensive leadership skills.

“She is respected by her peers,” Bachman said. “She’s respected for her talents and the way she’s conducted herself over her entire career.”

As the first female battalion chief out in the field, Baxter will have to make critical decisions for firefighters to execute at live scenes.

“I wanted to be a leader not only to my family, but I wanted to be a leader in the fire department,” Baxter said. “I wanted to be a leader and recognized by the community as a leader. So other females out there know this is an opportunity they can pursue and they can achieve the same goals I have,” she said.

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