Daughter continues firefighter tradition

July 11, 2008 3:51:54 PM PDT
The legacy continues for a family of Philadelphia firefighters. Mayor Nutter noted that there six females in the 81 cadets graduating from the Firefighter Academy.

And one of those women, Kathleen Donovan, daughter and granddaughter of firefighters, made history: For the first time, a firefighter's badge has been handed down from father to daughter.

Donovan's maternal grandfather, John Cronin, served for 33 years and became a battalion chief.

He expected his grandsons to be flame fighters, but not his youngest grandchild, the little girl he called "Katy Liz" and "Sweepea".

Dad Bill Donovan served for 32 years, wearing the badge 967 now on his daughter's cap.

"What can I say? It's absolutely great," Kathleen's dad Bill said.

Three years ago another Bill Donovan, this one Kathleen's brother, became the third generation to serve.

He says his little sister, all of 5' 4" and 125 pounds, has already impressed her instructors as no lightweight.

"And right away you're like she's going to be a firefighter? But good things come in small packages," Kathleen's brother Bill said.

Kathleen hopes to pass badge 967 to a fourth generation. In the meantime, it'll be a reminder that she's never alone among the flames.