PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- In a profession dominated by men, two women are making a name for themselves working as the only mother and daughter firefighters in Phoenix.

Kim Packebush knew she didn't want a desk job so she joined the Phoenix Fire Department 24 years ago.

When daughter, Kayleigh, wanted to follow in her footsteps, Kim was surprised to say the least.

“The day she told me she wanted to be a firefighter I was literally in shock. I was going, you know you have to get dirty, don’t you?” Kim said with a laugh.

Growing up, Kayleigh was a bit of a princess, but she traded in her tiaras for turnouts and never looked back.

“I think at about age 16, you start thinking about what you want to do with your life, you want to enjoy your life, enjoy your career, you see them get up every morning and be excited to go to work and I wanted that,” Kayleigh said when talking about her parents.

Kayleigh’s dad is a retired Phoenix fire captain and her husband is also a firefighter in Phoenix.

Once she figured out she wanted to follow in the family's footsteps, she proved herself in the fire academy and soon jumped on a truck with her mom.

“Being able to work with her, her very first day as a paramedic, there are no words,” Kim said.

“We have always been a team my entire life, doing soccer and home stuff, and then to actually bring that type of team into our career was fun,” Kayleigh added.

Kayleigh and Kim are two of just 73 female firefighters in Phoenix. Women make up less than 5% of the department. Kayleigh knows her tough mom helped pave the way for women like her!

“Well it’s amazing watching her go through everything she did. She definitely got hired in a different time than now,” Kayleigh said.

They both hope someday there will be another mother and daughter team fighting fires in Phoenix, but they'll always be the first.

“We don’t really think about that a lot except for when we get asked to do interviews and then you think about it but other than that, it’s just a way of life,” Kim said.

The ladies not only juggle demanding careers, but an adorable new addition! They work different shifts so they can watch Kayleigh’s daughter, Emerson.

She may be one, but she already feels at home at the fire station.

“For me, growing up around this, it was incredible. It was hard not to enjoy this and want to do it, I hope she ends up having the same love for it,” Kayleigh said.

Time will tell if Emerson grows up to be a firefighter like her mom and grandma, but no matter what she does, she couldn't have better female role models!

 


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