HOMER, La. (KSLA) — Erika Cornelius is the first African-American female firefighter in Homer.
The mother of two joined the Claiborne Parish town’s volunteer fire service in 2011.
She says she wanted to try something different and saw a need to help her community.
Cornelius credits her fire chief and fellow firefighters for embracing her.
“I can motivate someone else to do something; not only that, but females as well.”
Now the four women she has inspired to join the service look up to her when answering the call.
Only 4% percent of firefighters in the United States are women, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Born and raised in Homer, Cornelius never thought the fire service would end up as her passion. And after she joined, she was put to the test with her first house fire.
“Super nervous. I was running around in circles. But after years of training, it comes and goes.”
Cornelius plans to continue working in the field and is considering pursuing EMT certification.