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Yuma fire department names first female chief

Melissa Hilbert
Photo: Rural Metro Fire
Rural Metro Fire
Rural Metro Fire

A 22-year firefighting veteran has become the first female fire chief in the 75-year history of Rural Metro Fire, a private firefighting company based in Scottsdale.

Melissa Hilpert assumed her duties of overseeing Rural Metro’s fire stations in the Yuma area of southwestern Arizona this month. Hilpert said as a woman she feels “it’s important to let other women know that there can only be a barrier to their success if they allow one."

Hilpert began her career with the Rural Metro Fire as a reserve firefighter and EMT in 2000. She also has worked as a certified paramedic firefighter, wildland firefighter, rescue diver and in various supervisory positions.