19-year-old becomes first paid female firefighter for town of Pulaski

Madison Phillips makes history while carrying on family tradition

Nineteen-year-old Madison Phillips is one of the newest members of the Pulaski Fire Department.

PULASKI, Va. – Nineteen-year-old Madison Phillips is one of the newest members of the Pulaski Fire Department.

“She has good initiative, she’s a go-getter. She works hard and strives to get something done,” said Captain Robbie Kiser of the Pulaski Fire Department.

She’s also making history. Madison is the first paid female firefighter for the Town of Pulaski. A fitting accomplishment, considering she’s been around the fire station her whole life.

“I would roll hose, hang hose up after fires, I’d help check the trucks and check lights and everything,” Madison said.

She’s following in the footsteps of many family members who have also been firefighters, including her dad, Cliff. Something Kiser says brings this full circle.

“I grew up with them in Draper, and her dad, her grandpa, her uncle, her great uncle, her cousins, they all have been in the fire service her whole life, so she’s been born and bred into it,” Kiser added.

“It’s a good opportunity for me and her to spend time together, now that she’s getting older and her life is moving on, that’s our little bit of father-daughter time,” said Cliff Phillips, who is a fire code official for the town of Blacksburg.

He’s also a certified trainer and was actually Madison’s instructor in her firefighting classes.

“It’s pretty cool at times. She’ll probably tell you I was harder on her than anybody else,” he said.

“He’s definitely harder on me and expects more out of me than other people. And then of course, class doesn’t stop when quitting time is over. It continues as we go to the house,” Madison said with a laugh.

As her father paved the way for her, Madison is already doing so for others. Breaking barriers, one call at a time.

About the Author:

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.