Boswell Volunteer Fire Department staffed with a trio of high school girls

Local News

SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Across the country and right here in Central Pa, fighting fire is in most cases a male-dominated field, but there is an exception to the norm.

Molly Gontis is a 16-year-old freshman in high school in Boswell. Liliana Shumaker and Rebecca slate are both 17-year-old juniors. All three are volunteer firefighters.

The girls, who go by “The three amigos” all volunteer at the Boswell Fire Department and when asked how this all came together, Liliana simply responded that it was girl power.

Rebecca (Becca) Slate said, “You have to be a team, everybody has to work together to have one goal. In mind. And what’s that goal? That goal is to get the fire out and have everybody safe.”

The girls were first noticed when they were spotted assisting a fire in Hooversville earlier in the year as flames tore through a historic church.

Molly Gontis said, “All of our pages went off on our phone.”

Rebecca (Becca) Slate said, “So that was my first fire I’ve ever been on.”

Molly Gontis is a 16-year-old freshman in high school in Boswell. Liliana Shumaker and Rebecca slate are both 17-year-old juniors. All three are volunteer firefighters.

The high schoolers were in class one minute, then rushing to the fire station the next. The girls can’t yet enter burning buildings, but that’s about the only thing they can’t legally do.

Liliana Shumaker said, “The fast pace of everything i like that, just when the tones drop you run.”

Molly Gontis said, “I have my legs and I can go in and I can walk around I can still breathe I can do all of these things I have a purpose.”

Seeing catastrophe and tragedy at such a young age can takes its toll.

“I have seen accidents where people don’t make it. I’ve seen calls where we get there, they’re alive but they’re not when we leave and that’s definitely hard to take in because you try to do everything you can to save every life possible,” Slate said.

On the flip side, these young ladies at their core are volunteers, willing to sacrifice their own lives to save another.

“I’d love to do this for the rest of my life,” Gontis said.

These unlikely friends and even more unlikely heroes know that being a part of this special brotherhood in Boswell includes the sanctity of sisters.

Molly Gontis said, “I just know that I’m helping someone and that maybe I’m changing their life in a way.”

Liliana Shumaker said, “I just got to help that person and then them… they will always remember that you’re always gonna remember that ride in the ambulance, so what you do definitely impacts everyone around you.

Rebecca Slate said, “Firemen have big hearts especially for us girls they treat us like their daughters and I couldn’t be more thankful.”

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