The 22-year-old siblings are members of the Rochester Protectives, a team of volunteers who work alongside firefighters in Rochester, N.Y., reported WXXI News. Their goal is to soon be admitted to officially work in the fire department. Though it isn’t common to see Black firefighters, especially Black female firefighters, that doesn’t stop the sisters from chasing their dreams.
“It’s not really something that we grew up knowing that we wanted to do,” Kania said in an interview with WXXI News. “We just knew that we wanted to help people to the best capacity that we could.”
According to a 2020 report from the National Fire Protection Association, 9% of all firefighters in the U.S. are women. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor‘s data shows that only 8% of firefighters are Black. Despite the odds, Kania said they “know our work ethic, and we know that we do our jobs, and we do it well.”
Rochester Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano expressed his admiration for the twins.
“Those are the people I’m looking for!” Napolitano told WXXI News. “That’s the million-dollar smile. That’s (saying), ‘This is where I belong.'”
As part of the Protectives unit, Kalia and Kania hold various roles that include setting up lighting at fire scenes, changing air bottles for the fire crew and covering the damaged property.
“To be on the other hand of helping save the rest of the material that they do have in the house so that they can leave with something — it’s amazing,” Kalia said. “It’s great being in this environment.”
The Williams sisters, who already passed the civil service exam, are now waiting for their physical test. They are happy to have each other’s support as they continue their journey.
“If I was doing it by myself, I would be so nervous,” Kalia said, “But having my twin sister here doing it with me, it helps a lot.”