City Council backs Haverhill woman’s efforts to pass firefighter exam | New
HAVERHILL – Melanie Figueroa put her dream of becoming a firefighter on hold to raise her children, but now hopes to get back on track and take the civil service exam in October.
The only thing stopping him from taking the test is his age.
At 33, Figueroa is a year older than the upper age limit to take the national firefighter exam.
So, in hopes of realizing her dream, she asked the city council for help.
At its August 9 meeting, the board voted 8 to 0—member Shaun Toohey was absent—to submit a bylaws petition to the state, which, if approved by the legislature, would allow Figueroa to pass the test.
Councilor Melinda Barrett said it’s not unusual for the council to file bylaws petitions to support residents who want to take the civil service police and firefighter exams but have passed the limit maximum age.
“We do that quite often,” Barrett said.
According to the City Council office, the council filed four petitions in 2020 on behalf of residents wishing to take the firefighter exam.
In 2021, the board filed one for the firefighter exam and one for the police exam. So far this year, the council has filed one for Melanie Figueroa as paperwork is underway for a resident who hopes to become a police officer.
Melanie Figueroa’s twin sister, Milady Figueroa, is a Haverhill police officer, so public service seems to be in their blood.
In a letter to the board, Melanie Figueroa said she recently graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Call/Volunteer Recruit firefighting training program and received her National Fire I & II certification. She is currently one of nine “call” firefighters in the city.
“I truly believe that if given the opportunity to join the Haverhill Fire Department, my skills, strong work ethic and commitment that I have accumulated over the years would be an asset to ensuring safety of the town of Haverhill,” she said in her letter.
Figueroa also said she wanted to be a firefighter since she was a teenager, but had to put her dreams aside when she became a single mother at a young age.
“I had to choose to support my children rather than pursue my dream,” she said. “Being a pharmacy technician taught me different aspects of safety in our community. Now that my kids are older, I can focus on fulfilling my dream of becoming a member of the Haverhill Fire Department.
If things go the way Melanie Figueroa hopes, she could become Haverhill’s first female firefighter.
Wearing a Haverhill Fire t-shirt, Melanie Figueroa stood in front of council at its August 9 meeting and received praise for her desire to serve the city.
“I think it’s wonderful and I look forward to seeing you on the staff of the fire department sooner or later,” City Council Speaker Tim Jordan said.
Councilor Melinda Barrett also expressed her enthusiasm for Figueroa’s desire to become a firefighter in Haverhill, as did the other council members.
“I know your sister is a strong force for the police department…so we’ll have another strong force for the fire department,” Barrett said. “I think you’ll be a great first female firefighter.”
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