Someone You Should Know: The Only Woman Firefighter in Town

CANTON, S.D. – Canton, South Dakota is a one-stop light town.

“The one and only,” said Solem.

The only town 25-year-old Andrea Solem has ever called “home.”

”You know everybody and if something were to happen, everybody comes together.”

By night, Andrea is a firefighter.

In fact, she’s the only woman firefighter in the whole department.

“I took it as a challenge to push myself, to hopefully get more women on the department,” said Solem.

She’s suited for the challenge, even if it’s…

“Finding gear that fits,” said Solem.

Indeed, this one-woman wonder has big shoes to fill.  

“It’s designed to keep you cool so you’ll sweat a whole bunch, but you won’t get super super hot,” said Solem about her firefighter gear.

Three years ago, one of Andrea’s four sisters invited her to take an EMT training course, but then it clicked. She should be a firefighter.

“Were you nervous for your test or how did you feel?” asked KDLT.  “I’m super competitive,” said Solem.

“Something different every time,” said Solem. “It’s not a routine thing, you could say so you don’t know what to expect. Your energy’s flowing and you’re all ready to go.”

Her fire truck has become an extension of herself; a new view to experience the hometown streets she’s always known and loved, but the job is a bump in the road she never expected.

“If somebody would have said that in high school, I wouldn’t have [believed it], no way,” said Solem.

“No way” you can do this job without a sense of humor.

Andrea always rises to the occasion.

“You can do anything you want to do,” said Solem. “Just go for it.”

With Andrea pioneering the way, hopefully more women will.

Andrea may be the only woman firefighter right now, but the Canton Volunteer Fire Department is looking for applicants.

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